Jane Asher as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Willde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Rose Theatre Kingston upon Thames, from September 22nd to October 30th 2011.
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personæ to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Contemporary reviews all praised the play's humour, though some were cautious about its explicit lack of social messages, while others foresaw the modern consensus that it was the culmination of Wilde's artistic career so far. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's most enduringly popular play.
Lady Bracknell is the only character without a foil or partner. Lady Bracknell is Wilde’s symbol of the dominant Victorian ethic. As such, she is the most overbearing and powerful character in the play. There is no question, from any character, that the buck stops with her.
Photos by Chris Pearsal, http://www.rosetheatrekingston.org, Robbie Jack/Corbis, Alastair Muir/REX FEATURES and Marilyn Kingwill/tipsimages.it