The Importance of Being Earnest

Not Available
Algernon and Jack are good friends, who each maintain, as a matter of convenience, different identities depending on whether they are in the town or the country. It therefore becomes especially inconvenient, not to say confusing, when Jack proposes to Algernon’s cousin Gwendolyn under the pseudonym of ‘Ernest’, while Algernon proposes to Jack’s ward Cecily also under the pseudonym of ‘Ernest’. In truth, no one is particularly earnest, except the imperious Lady Bracknell, who takes a dim view of everything.

Wildely improbable. Amid a flurry of mistaken identity, witty banter and cucumber sandwiches, Oscar Wilde created the most elegant of comedies of manners.

Key photography by Earl Carter, rehearsal photography by Pam Kleeman

For my swan song at MTC – at least as its Artistic Director – I’m determined to go out joyfully (and perhaps a little sentimentally). Some of you may remember my 1988 production of Wilde’s dazzling masterpiece. Thanks to an astonishing cast and an exquisite design, it ran for over a year, touring the entire country. Although it was one of the happiest experiences of my career, I can’t think about it now without some sadness. Ruth Cracknell, Monica Maughan, Frank Thring and Gordon Chater, all astonishing in the original, are no longer with us. But Jane Menelaus and Geoffrey Rush, who played the handbag-crossed lovers Gwendolyn and Jack, are in their artistic prime and will step up a generation to play Miss Prism and Lady Bracknell respectively! The roles they vacated will be taken by bright new things Christie Whelan and Toby Schmitz, while Bob Hornery, Canon Chasuble in the original, will play the two butlers originated by Frank Thring. It also means the world to me to put Tony Tripp’s set on the Sumner stage, a tribute to another luminary member of our dear departed.

Artistic Director Simon Phillips

Artwork for Emily Barclay

Emily Barclay

Artwork for Patrick Brammall

Patrick Brammall

Artwork for

Artwork for Jane Menelaus

Jane Menelaus

Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush

Toby Schmitz

Toby Schmitz

Artwork for Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

Artwork for Christie Whelan Browne

Christie Whelan Browne

Artwork for Tony Tripp

Tony Tripp

Artwork for Phoebe Briggs

Phoebe Briggs