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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is the most famous of Oscar Wilde’s comedies. It is a story of two wealthy bachelors, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, who each create alter egos named Ernest to escape from their boring lives. Jack lives a respectable life in the country providing an example to his young ward Cecily but has invented a wayward younger brother called Ernest whom he uses as excuse for going up to London to enjoy himself. Algernon lives in luxury in London and has invented an imaginary invalid friend called Bunbury whom he visits in the country whenever he wants to avoid a social event. Jack wants to marry Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen, but he must first convince her overbearing mother, Lady Bracknell, of his respectability and that of his parents. Unfortunately, for Jack, having been abandoned in a handbag at Victoria station, this is not straightforward!

Algernon visits Jack’s house in the country pretending to be Ernest. He wins over Cecily and they become engaged. Shortly after, Jack arrives home announcing his brother Ernest’s death thus setting off a series of farcical events. Cecily and Gwendolen have a genteel stand-off over which of them has a prior claim on ‘Ernest’. At the same time, the local rector Dr Chasuble and Cecily’s governess Miss Prism have also fallen in love. Eventually, Jack discovers who his parents are and in the best tradition of the good play the story ends with all the loose ends tied up and everyone set to live happily ever after.


Jack Worthing Mark Read

Algernon Moncreif Tom Naylor

Gwendolen Caroline White

Cecily Cardew Katie Johnston

Lady Bracknell Maggie Smith

Dr Chasuble Gordon Bird

Miss Prism Jessica Gardner

Lane Alex Buchan

Merriman Simon Trinder

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