Thomas Dawkins sparkles as Jack, the hero in this Oscar Wilde adaptation, and tops and tails the show doubling as a young writer in search of his sidekick. In both future and past scenarios he finds a muse in the steadfast gaze of Cassandra Foster who plays an assured Gwendolen.
Pamela Schermann’s direction presents a polished jewel of a musical centring around a traditional story that brings fashionable Victorian Society to the Royal Mile. This uplifting show has had a great run in the C cubed theatre at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (read more about this historic space here) and is a clever adaptation of a classic Wilde play by writer Phil Jacobs. During the action each character finds his or her own sidekick and it is intriguing to see how the person who plays the sidekick in each partnership changes during the play. Maybe it is the lure of the delicious muffins on stage where tea is perpetually served.
Throughout the action the charismatic Simon Kingsley as Algernon flirts with a spritely pretty Cecily played by the talented Catherine Hayworth. This upwardly mobile portrayal of young ambition gives ballast to the union between Brian Eastty’s charming Dr Chasuble and Gillian Steventon’s quirky Miss Prism. Social interactions and cake mix together along with up-tempo songs, which include a delightful tribute to Algernon’s pal Bunbury and a jazzy number devoted to the potential of a handbag.
Everyone has emerged from the enjoyable twisting plot to unite with their sweetheart except for the indestructible Lady Bracknell. Bracknell is played with force by Amanda Bailey who has an expertise in creating obstacles on the path of true love. As a result of her actions the power has shifted in the relationships that begun at the start of the show. The sidekick is now the person who has fallen the deepest in love and that is surely the importance of being Ernest.
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Read stories about super sidekicks from other writers here and below