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Critics love The Importance of Being Earnest! Read the reviews.






Read all the reviews!


Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring and directed by Brian Bedford.   The Importance of Being Earnest is playing at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd St) in a limited engagement through March 6, 2011.

NEW YORK TIMES by Ben Brantley

The Importance of Being Astonished

“Mr. Bedford is perhaps the finest English-language interpreter of classical comedy of his generation, and he seems to pick up a Tony nomination every time he steps on a Broadway stage.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/theater/09bedford.html?_r=1&ref=theater

NEW YORK TIMES by Charles Isherwood

A Stylish Monster Conquers at a Glance

“Within seconds of sweeping onstage, and with a wordless gesture as funny as it is subtle, the great actor Brian Bedford proves beyond question that gender is of no importance whatsoever in portraying the imposing Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s greatest comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” …. It’s one of the great performances of the season; to miss it would most definitely look like carelessness.”

Full review: http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/theater/reviews/14importance.html



Brian Bedford proves Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is never a drag

“The sure sign of a good actress is that you forget, over the course of two hours, that the woman you are seeing is, in fact, a man. Such is the case with Brian Bedford, who has adopted Lady Bracknell’s haughty sensibility and her stern Victorian gowns in a terrific new Roundabout Theatre Company production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” that opened Thursday.”

Full review: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12612595&page=2


An Absolutely Perfect (and Important) Earnest

“Each jewel of wit is polished apple-bright, and every performer is playing in the same key. Forget literary interpretation, forget clenched internal acting: There’s great damned musicianship here, and the joy of sheer comic virtuosity. For this we must thank, again, Brian Bedford, who pulls off actor-director double duty with uncommon grace. Having assembled a uniformly brilliant cast (including the great Dana Ivey as dotty governess Miss Prism, and the terrific, incipiently potbellied Fontana, who seems perpetually, girlishly overjoyed to be six months pregnant with himself), he’s free to make his Lady Bracknell the prime showpiece, not the show-saver she can become if lesser stars fill out her constellation. When Bedford’s Bracknell enters — a one-woman armada of pomp with a face like a guillotine — the world stops briefly, but the show does not. (When it comes to imbuing a single word with devastating hilarity, the actor has no equal.) To know something like scripture, as we do Earnest, and to have it feel fresh off the press; to anticipate every jape, and yet react with delightful surprise? To paraphrase Gwendolen: The suspense is terrible, not to mention funny as hell, and it lasts.” Full review: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/01/stage_dive_an_absolutely_perfe.html



“The Roundabout Theatre Company has brought to Broadway Brian Bedford’s brilliantly zany Stratford Shakespeare Festival staging of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” in which the veteran classical comedian dons wig and gown to play Lady Bracknell.  Desmond Heeley’s fantastic set, which looks like a giant marzipan sculpture by Georges Seurat, has moved to New York along with Mr. Bedford, and the new cast includes Dana Ivey and Paxton Whitehead, two of the American theater’s most trustworthy wits.”  Full review: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704803604576077791348875596.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_LifestyleArtEnt


NY1 by Roma Torre

“Brian Bedford, leading an outstanding production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”, is truly as super as it gets on Broadway.  As written, Bracknell is already over the top among the great characters in drama. Bedford’s unique gift is to supply the skin, bones and teeth to make her bitingly real. Add to that impeccable comic timing…and a legendary performance is born. Brian Bedford is easily among our finest interpreters of comedy classics. So abundant is his talent in fact, he seems to inspire that level of excellence in all who share the stage with him.”


NEW YORK POST by Elisabeth Vincentelli

The lady mans up in a wickedly Wilde revival

“In this Roundabout revival, Lady Bracknell is played by Brian Bedford. She couldn’t be in better hands.

The 75-year-old star — who also directs — is consistently funny without resorting to camp or caricature. He’s a master of the precise pause and the arched eyebrow, evoking laughter simply by dropping his voice an octave on a word. Floating onstage like a galleon in full sail (excellent costumes by Desmond Heeley), he basically plays the Gorgon straight.” Full review: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/the_lady_mans_up_in_wickedly_wilde_8iPQ8PQ0wsUPq6qrMAFiqL



“Oscar Wilde’s wittiest comedy sparkles in this Broadway production, and when its director is onstage, it delivers pure bliss.  Bedford unleashes a limitless arsenal of variations on dry disapproval and can do wonders with a pause or vocal fluctuation of a half-octave or so. Mulling whether Jack is worth adding to her list of eligible bachelors, Lady Bracknell’s grilling of him is comedy at its most sublime. But then, Bedford’s every line in this entertaining revival is a jewel.” Full review: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/importance-earnest-theater-review-71658

VARIETY by Marilyn Stasio

“It’s Brian Bedford’s party, so let’s give the old dear the rousing chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” that he’s earned as director and showpiece of the Roundabout’s revival of Oscar Wilde’s scathingly witty 1895 comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” All foot traffic stops, as it should, whenever Bedford is commanding center stage with the imperial presentation of Lady Bracknell he originated in 2009 at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But the thesp’s lifetime commitment to the classics (27 seasons at Stratford alone) also accounts for the technically assured craftsmanship underpinning this lavishly mounted crowdpleaser.” Full review: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944292?refcatid=33


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY by Melissa Rose Bernardo

“Bedford directed (and starred in) The Importance of Being Earnest in 2009; now he’s brought his vision, his deliciously deadpan Lady Bracknell, his set/costume designer, and his ingenue (Sara Topham) to Broadway. The result, thankfully, is a perfectly pitched, fantastically funny rendition of Oscar Wilde’s self-subtitled ”Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” A-

AM NEW YORK by Matt Windman

“Bedford, while dressed to the nines in Victorian attire, treats the character with the utmost sincerity and gentleness. This results in a brilliant performance that is just as hilarious as it is utterly convincing. Those who forget to read the Playbill might not even realize that the role is being played by a man, which is perhaps the greatest compliment that Bedford can receive.”  Full review: http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-the-importance-of-being-earnest-4-stars-1.2607694







WOR RADIO by David Richardson

“The show stars a terrific Brian Bedford who, while also directing the show, plays Lady Bracknell to an uppercrust tee. The costumes are to die for and the three sets designed by Britain’s  famous Desmond Heeley are marvelous.  Everyone who goes will enjoy Mr. Bedford and his stodgy portrayal of a Victorian lady beyond reproach. He’s the reason you will want to see this well directed and superbly acted farce.”



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