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Wilde farce brings delight to OCU stage

For The Oklahoman
Modified: April 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm •  Published: April 8, 2013

photo - Cast of
Cast of "The Importance of Being Ernest." Photo by Mutz Photography.

A delightful world in which everything had the absurd logic of farce, and everyone played by the farcical rules of the game, was conjured up Saturday afternoon in Burg Theatre at Oklahoma City University, 2501 N Blackwelder.

The OCU, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park and Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre version of “The Importance of Being Earnest” was staged on a drawing room set that revolved to become the garden of a country estate.

Tall, fair and handsome, Hunter Paul as Algernon Moncrieff had a field day expounding the advantages of having an imaginary friend — named “Bunbarry” — in the country to get out of social obligations in town.

Playing off this comic conceit nicely was Andi Dema as his shorter and darker, but equally well dressed and cynical friend John Worthing, who attributes all his bad behavior to his fictional brother, “Earnest.”

Complications multiplied when Moncrieff chose to woo his friend’s ward Cecily by becoming “Earnest” while “bunbarrying” in the country — just after Worthing decided to kill off his ne’er-do-well, nonexistent brother in Paris!

Matching the men’s shenanigans were those of Lauren Thompson as the blonde-curled Cecily, and Renee Lawrence as Gwendolen Fairfax, who was both flirtatious, and almost formidable enough to stand up to her mother.

Thompson was hilarious, telling Algernon as “Earnest” they are already engaged, at least in her diary, then teaming up with Lawrence, as they went from instant soul sisters to arch rivals, engaged to the same man (they think).

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