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Wilde Divas Take to the Stage

26 Feb 2010

This content is tagged as Theatre .

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Elizabeth Hawthorne and Lisa Chappell star in Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST at the Maidment Theatre from March 11.

Appearing together on stage for the first time, Hawthorne and Chappell play Wilde’s glorious theatrical creations, Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen Fairfax.

Blessed with a timeless sense of mischief, daring and wit, Wilde delights in parodying the aristocracy behaving badly. Taking propriety to the point of absurdity and well beyond, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST presents a world where serious matters are treated with much less insignificance than matters of decorum, respectability and breeding.

“endlessly funny comedy about deliciously superficial people” New York Time

Under his suave exterior, Jack Worthing is all fluster and panic. He’s besotted with Gwendolen Fairfax, daughter of the she-dragon of London society Lady Bracknell, and cousin of his friend Algernon. For his part, Algernon is very keen on Jack’s pretty young ward, Cecily.

But marriage is out of the question until the mystery of Jack’s parentage is solved. Just how did he come to be found in a handbag? And in a cloakroom at Victoria Station? And, of course, Lady Bracknell has no intention of giving her consent until she has established Jack’s creditworthiness!

One-hundred-odd years on from its spectacular debut, Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” is as fresh and scintillating and subversive as ever.

“the most perfect high comedy in the English language” Telegraph

Making her 83rd professional theatre appearance, Elizabeth Hawthorne is relishing the authoritarian outrageousness of Lady Bracknell, Wilde’s monstrous paragon of patrician British matronhood.

Hawthorne has achieved particular renown for her unforgettable performances in Auckland Theatre Company productions of MASTER CLASS, VITA AND VIRGINIA, THE GRADUATE, DOUBT and FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.

International awarding winning actress Lisa Chappell returns to Auckland Theatre Company to play Gwendolen Fairfax. Her previous appearances for Auckland Theatre Company has seen her play a range of aristocratic leads including the devastatingly beautiful femme fatal at the centre of a ménage-a-trois in DESIGN FOR LIVING to an heroic would-be spy who helped to save the British Empire from a German attack in THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS.

Chappell, who is best known for her role as Claire McLeod on McLEOD’S DAUGHTERS, won the Silver Logie for the Most Popular Actress on Australian Television in 2004. She was also nominated for two Golden Logies for Best Actress on Australian Television in 2003 and 2004.

“In rehearsals sometimes I find myself falling out of character, just to watch Elizabeth. She is so funny and I just start cracking up, I hope Colin doesn’t see that!” says Chappell.

“in matters of great importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing,” Oscar Wilde.

Drawing inspiration from as diverse a range of sources as The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” to Lady Gaga, Colin McColl and creative team, Elizabeth Whiting, Tony Rabbit, John Parker and Eden Mullholland combine to create a high fashion modernization of this classic.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST promises theatergoers a night of wit, wisdom and utterly fabulous and fashionable aristocrats behaving badly. Very badly indeed.

Bookings can be made at the Maidment Theatre, 09 308 2383 or Auckland Theatre Company.