Review: The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

There is a reason why The Importance of Being Earnest is still a very much loved play today. A comedy of mistaken identity, it perfectly sends up the 19th century British upper class. (It is branded as a trivial play for serious people and, somehow, the title fits perfectly.) The plot revolves around two friends, Ernest and Algernon. Jack wishes to marry Algernon's cousin. Algernon is opposed to the idea, and when he discovers that Jack has been taking on two different identities--he is Jack when he is at home in the country and Ernest when he is in the city, Algernon comes up with a plan. He visits Jack in the country posing as Ernest, where he unintentionally falls in love with Jack's ward. Suddenly all hell breaks loose and things become more and more farcical and, consequently entertaining. (The resolution certainly is fun.)

This is such a fun examination of mistaken identity, manners and ego. Obviously it is a play, so reading it doesn't give quite the same impact as seeing it live in a theatre, but the are plenty of moments that made me smile. And even though I thought I knew the ending, there were plenty of jokes and even twists that I had completely forgotten. Filled with lots of British humour and digs at the upper classes.

Lots of fun. Highly recommended.


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