The Importance of Being Earnest at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
The Importance of Being Earnest at the Royal Exchange Theatre
Image courtesy of FEAST.

The Importance of Being Earnest at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre Until 20 July 2024 Tickets from £10.00 — Book now

Bold and brilliant contemporary takes on classic texts – it’s what the Royal Exchange Theatre does best. Needless to say, we’re thrilled that the hilarious Oscar Wilde comedy – The Importance of Being Earnest – roars into the Royal Exchange this summer.

Director Josh Roche, who makes his Royal Exchange Theatre debut this season, propels Wilde’s wit and high farce into the modern age. Packed with razor-sharp humour and preposterous plotting, this contemporary production transforms Wilde’s dandies into social media obsessives, who document their every move in a desperate bid for internet supremacy.

Enduring and charmingly ridiculous, audiences are invited to step into the world of the rich and famous, where everybody is looking for something to do, someone to love and somewhere to belong.

Exploring those timeless themes of identity and opulence, The Importance of Being Earnest follows the escapades of Jack, a young man with a penchant for partying in London under the guise of the fictional ‘Ernest’. Alongside him is Algernon, equally embroiled in a lifestyle of playful deception. Tired of the never-ending soirees and penthouse parties, the wealthy pair look to escape their anxious existence and find love via their ever-enigmatic alter-ego Ernest.

The outstanding cast is headed up by Robin Morrissey (Richard III, Rose Theatre and Deep Blue, Liverpool Everyman) as loveable rogue Jack and Parth Thakerar (Macbeth and The Hard Problem, National Theatre) as best friend Algernon. Completing the love-struck quartet, they will be joined by Phoebe Pryce (The Girl on the Train, Salisbury Playhouse) as Gwendolen and Rumi Sutton (Miss Saigon, Sheffield Crucible) as Cecily. Star of stage and screen, Abigail Cruttenden (Silent Witness, BBC and The Theory of Everything, Universal Pictures) will take the part of the formidable Lady Bracknell. The cast is completed by Royal Exchange and West End regular Ian Bartholomew as Chasuble; award-winning Emma Cunniffe as Miss Prism and Manchester favourite James Quinn as Lane/Merriman.

Director Josh Roche told us, “Bringing any of Oscar Wilde’s plays to the Royal Exchange in 2024 is a privilege. He is a writer who constantly balances empathy with satire, reminding us how ridiculous we are, while also understanding our need to feel profound. Wilde’s society of 1895 is disturbingly similar to our own. However, what’s particularly exciting about bringing Earnest into the Royal Exchange is how well this modern space suits this classic play – a uniquely social, free and dynamic theatre for a timeless comedy of profound triviality.”

The Importance of Being Earnest at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre Until 20 July 2024 Tickets from £10.00 Book now

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