Power play(1)

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 12, 2008

As Oscar Wilde's alter ego, Estrella gives Lord Goring the charm we expect and throws in some dignity at serious moments. Carpenter, as the stock flighty young woman of the time, supplies a vivacious spirit that's not mere giddiness. As for the central couple, Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern, O'Brien and Kim keep their feet on the ground of their characters' solid sense of reality and let the comedy's flights of fancy soar on their own. Yes, the humor in this farce takes care of itself (doors don't slam, but who is hidden behind them often is delightfully uncertain). This opportunity to underplay the comical elements allows fleeting serious expressions of inner turmoil, on Kim especially, to be funnier than a pratfall.

As far as this play applying to the presidential election, as director Swift has said, the campaign was the courtship and this is the marriage. Hopefully, we won't discover that President Obama sold state secrets in his youth, but we shouldn't be surprised to have an occasional china-breaking spat with him.

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