A Bunburying We Go

Jack Worthington is an upstanding young gentleman taking care of his ward, the beautiful Cecily; this is in contrast to his brother Ernest, a dashing rake in London, who Jack denounces as “wicked,” but persists in visiting frequently. Jack’s friend in the city, Algernon, finds Jack to be a delightful wag, but not very debauched. Jack strikes up a whirlwind romance with Algy’s cousin Gwendolyn one afternoon, complete with proposal (accepted immediately by her), but her love for him seems predicated on his name -- which he’s given as Ernest. Her mother, Lady Bracknell, is less impressed by “Ernest,” grilling him mercilessly until he admits his name isn’t Ernest, and he’s an orphan who was found in a handbag in a busy train station. This makes him unsuitable for her daughter, and she forbids them to marry. Jack returns to his country home in mourning clothes, and announces Ernest has died. That’s his plan anyway, but Algy, smitten with Jack’s description of his ward, has beaten him there -- and Algy has claimed the name Ernest for this country visit. Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of manners and mistaken identities, The Importance of Being Earnest, is transferred from Victorian London to the mod New York of the 1960s in the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Theater department production, which plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (March 4 through 13) in the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UMSL campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or www.touhill.org). Tickets are $5 to $10.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: March 4. Continues through March 13, 2010

 
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