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An Ideal Husband

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One stolen brooch, two incriminating letters, and three women vying for the attentions of an epigram-spouting bachelor, who (as marvelously played by Martin Shaw) seems to be channeling Oscar Wilde himself, make this dissection of Victorian (bad) manners the most welcome 100-year-old discovery of the season. Though Wilde’s 1895 play doesn’t have the crystalline wit of The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband makes up for it with undercurrents of genuine emotion that seem to surprise the characters as much as the audience. A- (TC)