EVIDENCE ROOM and FABULOUS MONSTERS
Lane - Indira Stefanianna
Director - Robert A. Prior
Producer - Bart DeLorenzo
July 10 - August 3, 1997
Los Angeles Times
Like every gadfly worth his wings, Robert A. Prior, who heads the theater group Fabulous Monsters, flies in the face of convention. But this is one gadfly who, backed by the weight of a formidable artistic vision, packs a real wallop. In his "cross-gendered" staging of The Importance of Being Earnest at Glaxa Studios, Prior displays the firm yet light grasp required for Wilde’s durable ephemera. Never do we mistake this rigorously disciplined Earnest for a mere drag show.
Outrageously attired though he may be, Chris Wells tempers his portrayal of Lady Bracknell with a keenly comic reserve that proves riotous. Of course, the role of Lady Bracknell seems custom-tailored for drag, but David Nichols, whose precisely pursed lips bespeak volumes of acerbity, is a revelation as Gwendolen. Tim Bennett’s bosomy Miss Prism comically dwarfs her clerical admirer, the Rev. Chasuble, played by Pat Crawford Brown, while Bliss, as Cecily, flutters with uncanny winsomeness.
Cynthia Orthal’s Jack Worthing is an amusing foil for the affectations of Paula Killen’s Algernon. Indira Stefanianna goes wonderfully over the top as the respective menservants Lane and Merriman.
Prior’s colorful costumes riot against the monochromatic backdrop of this Beardsley-influenced set, also designed by Prior. Although it occasionally falters in tone, this production is economical and precisely timed, Wilde at his arid best.
– F. Kathleen Foley