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The Importance of Being Earnest

Written by Oscar Wilde


Where and When

McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre
24-28 September 2002

Cast (alphabetical by actor’s surname)

Canon Chausuble Stephen Bolton
Cecily Chloe Davis
Lane/Merriman Clive Harrison
Gwendolyn Angharad James
Lady Bracknell Priscilla Jones
Algernon Siddarth Kapur
Jack Tony Sabine
Miss Prism Emily Wilson

Production Team

Director Stephen Bolton
Producer Dilip Vaswani
Set Designer Roberto Conte
Costume Designer Roberto Conte
Stage Manager Ali Aitken
Lighting Designer Ernesto Maurice Corpus
Sound Ernesto Maurice Corpus
Props Tony Sabine
Programme Designer Peter Espina
Print Production Neerja Sujanani
Cast Photographs Stephen Bolton
Publicity Photographs Stephen Bolton
Front of House Jackie Huke


South China Morning Post

Friday September 27 2002

Oscar Wilde’s famous play bristles with formidable characters that jostle for attention as they deliver their brutal put-downs. The knack lies in the actors submerging themselves in their dialogue and delivering their lines with comic understatement and precision timing.

It’s a tricky manoeuvre – not least because each character seems to be consistently reciting acerbic one-liners – but the Hong Kong Players, under the assured direction of Stephen Bolton, rose to the occasion and made it seem almost effortless. And the audience responded in kind, to the extent that it was virtually sniggering in anticipation of the play’s most memorable line – Lady Bracknell’s “to lose one parent … may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness”.

Overall this polished production was virtually seamless in its delivery, with each member of the cast reveling in the spectacle and making a tangible and individual contribution. Siddarth Kapur’s Algernon was endearingly urbane as one of the two men using the same pseudonym, which backfires when they fall in love with different women. Priscilla Jones’ Lady Bracknell was distinctly draconian as the forbidding embodiment of Britain’s Queen Victoria, who ruled the British empire at the time Wilde wrote his play, while Angharad James was masterful in making Gwendolyn a crashing snob with a heart of gold. And Roberto Conte’s sets and costumes were attractive yet functional without overly distracting from the characters themselves.

David Phair