Boldly “Being Earnest”

Photos: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Direction and Choreography by Ilyse Robbins
Music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska

13 September to 7 October, 2018
Greater Boston Stage Company
395 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Stoneham, Massachusetts) In September, I attended the East Coast Premiere of Being Earnest at the Greater Boston Stage Company (GBSC).  This comedy runs for another week ‒ featuring actress Ephie Aardema who performs internationally, as well as other accomplished actors.  GBCS’s adaptation is set in 1960s London, and the composers stayed true to Oscar Wilde’s play.

During this comedy, I liked the costume design by Gail Astrid Buckley who chose for the actors wonderful wigs to represent hairstyles of the 1960s  ‒ the beehive, the mop top, and bombshell – and the main actors’ 1960s menswear was accurately iconic and conservative in the Don-Draper style.  Buckley is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, an alliance for stage employees. Buckley has worked with the Greater Boston Stage Company for a few other productions, and she has received two Elliot Norton Awards, conferred by the Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA).  After attending Being Earnest, I really hope that Gail Astrid Buckley’s period hairstyling and costumes land her on the BTCA’s next ballot for another duly deserved Elliot Norton Award.

I also want to discuss the actor Michael Jennings Mahoney, another regular at Greater Boston Stage Company.  Mahoney has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan and his MFA from Brown University. In Being Earnest, he was the secondary character Algernon Moncrieff who is the story’s delightfully dandy hero. Out of the entire American cast, Mahoney’s British accent was the strongest, the most believable and most bearable.  Additionally, Mahoney possessed well-timed physical comedy, making funny faces and clowning at all the right moments, techniques that frequently boosted the mood on stage with a satisfying satirical levity.

Along with the fabulous work of Ephie Aardema, Gail Astrid Buckley, and Michael Jennings Mahoney, I was impressed with actress Beth Gotha who played the character Lady Bracknell.  She comfortably moved about the stage. The audience easily sensed her proficiency as an experienced thespian. While Gotha has appeared at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, on the SpeakEasy Stage, and with Súgán Theatre Company, Being Earnest was Gotha’s GBSC debut.  Hopefully she stars in future GBSC plays, as I enjoyed her interpretation of imposing Bracknell.

In all honestly, I enjoyed everything about this play. If you are an Anglophile and if you also like romantic comedies, then I suggest that you purchase tickets at this link for the last few shows.  

*Apologies to the staff, cast, and audience at Greater Boston Stage Company for this shamefully belated review. First the gas explosions and evacuation in Merrimack Valley and then a sickness in the NETG family caused the publication of this article to be repeatedly delayed. Very sorry.
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