The Academy of Creative Theatre (ACT) brings Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” to life with all the ridiculous and hilarious elements of the classic comedy. Though ACT is a theater troupe of young actors all under the age of 18, their performances at the SLO Little Theatre are carried with maturity in this case of mistaken identities.
When two men in late Victorian England create false identities in an attempt to get out of social obligations, they soon realize that they must fully embody these personas, both named “Ernest.” What ensues is a farcical commentary on the institution of marriage and social class. Jedidiah Authier plays the title role of Jack Worthing, one of the men claiming to be “Ernest.” The eldest in the troupe, Authier brought maturity and finely crafted skill to the performance. His British accent is strong throughout the show and his reactions to the ridiculous escapades of Worthing’s comrade Algernon Moncrieff (Isaac Capp) are genuine.
Moncrieff’s quick-witted and impulsive personality makes his character one of the funniest in the play. Capp’s portrayal of Moncrieff is hilarious as he brings attention to the smallest moments of comedy. Capp doesn’t let any action of Moncrieff ’s go unnoticed, like sneaking bread and cucumber sandwiches and wiggling his eyebrows as he flirts with Worthing’s love Cecily Cardew.
Penny DellaPelle depicts Cardew’s innocence naturally. Bounding about the stage with curiosity, her inquisitive nature is fitting for DellaPelle. The naivete of Cardew is brought out by her engagement to Algernon (under the name “Ernest”), a man she has only just met. DellaPelle creates one of the most charming and pure characters in the play.
Miss Gwendolen Fairfax (Sam Mucciacito) also believes she is engaged to a man named Ernest. Fairfax is the daughter of Lady Bracknell. The pair are the most comedic duo in the show, commenting on the frivolous nature of the upper class. Gwendolan is an exaggerated version of a London socialite who believes that Worthing is actually Earnest Worthing.
Mucciacito plays the role of a “proper young lady” with pride. She manages to make Gwendolan’s airhead moments endearing and charming to watch.
In charge of Fairfax is the outrageous Lady Bracknell played by Alyssa Mikey. Lady Bracknell is given the most ridiculous lines in the show and Mikey delivers them with impeccable comedic timing.
For taking on a play with characters as complicated as those in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” the ACT actors delivered the performance with ease. The play was a delight to watch and each character embodied the charm they should have. It is clear that these young performers have promising futures.