Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, subtitled A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, is surprisingly full of not just witty bons mots (“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train”) but also awful groaners that are all the funnier because they’re in what appears to be a stuffy fin-de-siècle drawing-room comedy. Critics rarely agree on much of anything, but their opinion of Earnest is near unanimous: It’s the second-best English play ever (just after Hamlet, and much sillier), and it has no meaning whatsoever.
So clean out your ears and prepare for pure amusement at Arizona Theatre Company’s production through Sunday, October 27, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. It features such sparkling stars as Anneliese van der Pol (from last season’s Emma) and Allyce Beasley, whose voice will be very familiar even if you don’t remember her from her best-known role on TV’s Moonlighting in the ’80s. Thursday, October 24’s performance starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $40.50 to $72 at www.ticketmaster.com or 602-256-6995.