‘I am particularly fond of muffins’
Flamboyant, loud and likeable is how Liam Duncan describes his brilliant, witty and amoral bachelor character Algernon Moncrieff in Oscar Wilde's comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Cast as the idle, decorative, bachelor in the Evolution Theatre Company production of the play, otherwise known as A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, Algernon assumes the name Ernest during his visits with Cecily Cardew in the country. Algernon's best friend Jack Worthing, who also calls himself Ernest, is in love with Algernon's cousin Gwendolen. Through Jack, Algernon finds wealthy Cecily's address and introduces himself to her as Ernest Worthing.
Money and sex is what the comedy rests on, Duncan said of Wilde's satire.
“It's trying not to say that but I'm sure that's what it's all about.”
Gwendolen's mother, Lady Augusta Bracknell (played by Elizabeth Boyce), a social climber and bastion of Victorian mores, is Algernon's main obstacle in life, said Duncan.
Given her opinions on society, marriage, religion, money, illness, death, and respectability, means she has been described as the object of Wilde's satire. She is temperamentally the opposite of Algernon.
“I think he'd like to be free and she's the only person who has control over him,” Duncan said.
To get a better understanding of the 19th century comedy, and of Algernon's wit and epigrammatic language, Duncan has watched “countless” performances of his scenes.
“It's good to see how various actors play Algernon — and to understand the jokes.”
Algernon's only role models are women, said Duncan.
“That's why he's so flamboyant and says things people wouldn't say any more. He even says, ‘The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her, if she is pretty, and to some one else, if she is plain.'
“He's disrespectful to everyone.”
The Importance of Being Earnest, Evolution Theatre, 75 Disraeli St, June 26 – July 11. 7.30pm with a 4pm matinee on June 28.
Book at eventfinda via this shortcut, https://tinyurl.com/y7z9br8g