The Importance of Being Earnest – The Barn REVIEW

The Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is already brilliantly funny and witty but add The Barn’s clever twists on a loved classic and you’ve got one happy audience. 

The jovial play begins with the entirety of the cast going missing which leaves a producer and a stage manager to cobble together the play because THE SHOW MUST GO ON! I’ve only ever seen this play twice but both times it has been a cast of two males holding the play together. 

Ryan Bennett (Graham de Hare), Aidan Harkins (Kevin McKinnon), Photo Credit_ John-Webb Carter (2)

Having already seen Ryan Bennett in The Barn production of Daddy Long Legs I knew he would be brilliant but his co-star Aiden Harkins was equally captivating. The pair know the script inside-out and backwards which means their pace is snappy and ability to bounce off each other is strong. 

Aidan Harkins (Kevin McKinnon), Ryan Bennett (Graham de Hare), Photo Credit_ John-Webb Carter

The pair swap characters more and more as you find your way through Wilde’s tricky script. What they succeed so well in is turning a rather complicated script with multiple overlapping characters, into something understandable and coherent. 

Ryan Bennett (Graham de Hare), Aidan Harkins (Kevin McKinnon), Photo Credit_ John-Webb Carter

With apparently just two weeks to rehearse, the pair have expertly wrapped their heads and mouths around the endlessly wordy script. The pace often gets so fast they barely have time to think, let alone breathe between lines or costume changes. It is all rather impressive. 

Aidan Harkins (Kevin McKinnon), Ryan Bennett (Graham de Hare), Photo Credit_ John-Webb Carter (1)

They may not stay entirely composed as the pace quickens with the play reaching its finale. I felt this meant some of Wilde’s iconic lines were not given the attention and moment in the spotlight they deserve. Despite this, the show retains its hilarity and farcical nature as it never lets up in energy and ends with a smile inducing dance number/bow sequence. 

Ryan Bennett (Graham de Hare), Photo Credit_ John-Webb Carter (1)

It was a little quieter than usual in the audience at The Barn, but I’m assuming that was because the show will soon be transferring to The Turbine Theatre in London. But for those in the West Country, don’t miss this show if you fancy a giggle.  

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