Wilde meets the Avengers at the Guthrie

One snowy weekend at a cabin in Wisconsin I realized the owner had acquired several seasons on video of the classic British TV show The Avengers. I proceeded to watch them all. The show is steeped in that early James Bond look, of the swinging ’60s, as well as the classically dry British humor that turns the characters just a little off-kilter, dry to the bone, and yet somehow sexy.

And now, in a twist that would have made the characters of that show proud, one of the latter-day Avengers actresses, Linda Thorson (who played Tara King), is here, at the Guthrie Theater, starring in The Importance of Being Earnest.

Regarding the Guthrie’s recent production of the British comedy When We Are Married, I remarked that in the genre of effete British comedy there is The Importance of Being Earnest and then there is everything else. But I didn’t account for variations among Earnest productions, and this one, which opened last Thursday, offers a classic take on the witty proceedings but with Thorson adding a tough edge to the formidable lead, Lady Bracknell, and Richard Iglewski at his scene-stealing oblivious best as the reverend.