Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 4:35 pm | Rain Fog/Mist 53º


Review: Discover ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ with Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre

A classic English comedy of manners and mistaken identity, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is subtitled, “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” It was first performed in 1895 and remains his most popular play. With witty dialogue and clever plot twists, it is pure farce and turns a satirical eye to Victorian ways.

Circle Bar B’s current production, directed by Miller James, hits all the right notes. Joshua Danyel, as Algernon, bursts into the first act crackling with energy. The character is brash, sure of himself and even a little snooty, but Danyel portrays him in a surprisingly good-natured way.

In seeming contrast, Richard Lonsbery as Jack (aka Earnest) first appears rather low-key, even languid. However, as the action progresses, we see that his energy is on a slow burn and builds to some wonderfully climactic moments.

Note: The scene change within Act II is well worth the price of admission, as he gets a chance to show off his considerable chops as a hoofer.

As the lady loves of these gentlemen, both Jennifer Marco and Katherine Bottoms do a fine job. Marco is the composed and proper Gwendolyn, but like Lonsbery as her Earnest, she takes her time in revealing the character’s subtler layers. Bottoms is the idealistic and spontaneous Cecily, who falls for Algernon, and her energy matches Danyel’s beautifully, as she seems to glow from inside.

Lit from within as well, but with a sort of menacing gleam, is Jenna Scanlon as Gwendolyn’s mother, Lady Bracknell. The paragon of the English society matron with an agenda, she somehow manages to be both curt and long-winded at the same time, and is scintillatingly scary.

As the prim yet not heartless Miss Prism, co-producer Susie Couch is charming, and her chemistry with husband and co-producer David Couch, who is solid as the sweet-natured (and sweet on Miss Prism) Reverend Chasuble, is adorable.

Allan Stewart-Oaten and Cathryn Betz round out the cast as faithful servants, with Betz also ushering and selling refreshments at intermission.

Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre is truly a family affair, with everyone pitching in. And with the delicious barbecue dinner preceding the show, it’s a wonderful way to spend a summer evening, just a 30-minute drive up the coast in what feels like another world.

Be sure to check out this delightful production in its final three weekends, through July 14. Click here for more information.

— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.