Photos Reviews

The Importance of Being Earnest

May 1979

by Oscar Wilde, directed by Mary Jones


John Worthing J.P. (of the Manor House, Woolton, Hertfordshire) - Philip Jones

Algernon Moncrieff (his friend) - John Stuart

Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D. (Rector of Woolton) - Roy Wheeler

Merriman (Butler to Mr. Worthing) - Bryan Stephenson

Lane (Mr. Moncrieff's man-servant) - Robert Fynn

Lady Bracknell - Joan Bowditch

Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax (her daughter) - Margaret Butt

Cecily Cardew (Mr. Worthing's ward) - Lynn Trout

Miss Prism (Miss Cardew's governess) - Miranda Leger

Production Team:

Producer - Mary Jones

Production Assistants - Fenella Gill & Rachel Jones

Stage Manager - Gordon Halliday

Stage Crew - Michael Trout, Barry Matthews, Bill Beeson, Anthony Morris, Adam Gill & Gerald Harding

Lighting - Bob Reed & Anthony Morris

Costumes & Make-Up - Diana Lucas & Angela Beney

Props - Marie Berry & Madeleine Stewart

Front of House - Anne Bacon & David Gill

Prompt - Rosemary Stephenson

Publicity - Don Badger


From Exmouth & East Devon Journal - Sat. 9 Jun 1979:

...skilful handling by Joan Bowditch....

Estuary Players get them wild about 'Earnest'

The Estuary Players from Topsham have been pleasing local audiences since their foundation in 1977. As part of the Exeter Festival, they took their latest production, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, to the Barnfield Theatre, Exeter, after three performances at Topsham earlier.

The move from Topsham's Matthews Hall must have presented problems, both of staging and of presentation, but the play on Tuesday was clearly enjoyed by their new audience.

The opening of Wilde's classic comedy can sometimes come across as merely a contrived series of dated verbal fireworks commenting on a society and a set of values which have disappeared.

It was a tribute to this carefully considered production that it soon became clear that this danger had very largely been avoided.

The audience particularly enjoyed the famous quarrel scene between Gwendolen Fairfax (Margaret Butt) and Cecily Cardew (Lynn Trout), when they think themselves both engaged to the same man.

And a well-deserved ovation was also given to the skilful handling by Joan Bowditch as Lady Bracknell of the inquisition of her daughter's suitor.

In both of these scenes there is a temptation either to echo or deliberately to contrast with some famous performances of the past, but all involved in this performance had thought afresh about their roles.

The Estuary's producer Mary Jones, and leading players brought enthusiasm and intelligence to the play, and they were well served by those members of the cast in ostensibly minor parts whose support is vital to a successful production.

The Estuary Players' next play is Oh, What Lovely War! in November.

- Reviewed by: P.R.


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