Three years ago, David Suchet was seen treading the boards as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest. This summer, the same play is the finale of Dominic Dromgoole’s year-long Oscar Wilde Season, playing at London’s Vaudeville Theatre. Widely regarded as one of the funniest plays ever written in English, Wilde’s most popular play is last he published before being imprisoned.
The witty and linguistically rich story of The Importance of Being Earnest centres around two men, Jack and Algernon, and their disdain for social obligations and responsibility. They both confess to leading double lives, each taking an identity for the town and one for the country. Love, deceit and triviality are prominent themes, with potential allusion to Wilde’s gay lifestyle.
The comedy of manners is also a biting critique of upper class society, its values and the role it can play in relationships. Although everything works out in the end – it’s a comedy, of course! – there is plenty of tension to balance the deliciously witty dialogue.
Sophie Thompson (Guys and Dolls, Company) leads the cast as the sharp-tongued Lady Bracknell, alongside Jeremy Swift (Downton Abbey) as Reverend Chasuble and Pippa Nixon as Gwendolyn Fairfax, as well as Fiona Button as Cecily Cardew and Stella Gonet as Miss Prism.
Michael Fentiman directs, with previous credits including productions at the RSC such as Titus Andronicus, as well as Loot and Raising Martha at the Park Theatre. The production also features design by Madeleine Girling and costume design by Gabriella Slade.
The Importance of Being Earnest runs for a strictly limited West End season from 20 July to 20 October 2018, with a press night on 2 August 2018. As the final show of Dromgoole’s celebratory season, it is only fitting that it should be Wilde’s most popular play, and should simply not be missed.
Recommended forAudiences who love period comedy, clever writing and the great works of theatre’s history won’t want to miss this popular play.
Age Recommendations: Recommended 8+