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The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde’s frivolous comedy gets a thoroughly inessential staging. Two sets of anthroponymically crossed lovers — Algernon and Cecily (John Sperry Sisk and Katie Kevorikan), and Jack and Gwendolen (Tim Heinrich and Jessica Hardin) — bicker and kiss, but under Julie Sanchez’s direction, the lines are so rushed and the mugging so overbearing that the production succeeds only as a perfunctory recitation of Wilde’s greatest quips. There’s no teasing tension when the lasses nearly kiss their fellows, just a pose, a giggle and a flounce away. Vicki Conrad and Dan Cole’s costumes nicely capture each character’s indulgences (Marti Hale as Lady Bracknell is a velvet juggernaut), and while Sanchez and Joseph Stachura’s bright-hued minimalist set is pretty on its own, it has the odd effect of making Jack and Gwendolen’s cool bon mots appear to be taking place next to Rhett and Scarlett boiling over the fall of Atlanta. Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 19. Continues through May 25, 2008

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