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The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde

Original Four Act Version

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

2010

Cast list

Press Release
(including historical notes)

Photography

Reviews

John Worthing, J.P.
Marcus McSorley
Algernon Moncrieff
Oliver Fabian
Lane / Merriman
William Argent
Lady Bracknell
Frances Cuka
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax
Louise Houghton
Cecily Cardew
Gemma Harvey
Miss Prisn
Jackie Skarvellis
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.
Roger Sansom
Moulton / Mr Gribsby
Tony O'Brien
James (Footman)
Richard Sansom
 
Directed by
Bryan Hands & Kenneth Michaels
Designer
Prav
Set Construction
John Dalton
SM / Technician
Anjali Kale
Costumes supplied by
The Miller Centre, Caterham, Surrey
Casting
Carola Stewart
Poster Cartoonist
Charles Yorke
Script Consultant
Roger Sansom
Programme Design
Paddy Gormley
Production Photography
Zoran
 
Theatre Manager
Sean Prior
Technical Manager
Racky Plews
Audio Consultant
Jon Raper

Logos would like to thank Paul and Shirley at the Archway Methodist Church for the use of the rehearsal room and storage space, and also Murugesh and Rebecca at Greggs in Watling Avenue, Burnt Oak for their delicious muffins and cupcakes. 

 

Click the image on the right for the press release, including historical information about the four act version of the play. 

Gribsby

 

Click for press release

(Left) Mr Gribsby, the solicitor, collecting a debt... in a case of mistaken identity.

Howard Loxton, Camden New Journal

THIS is not the version of Oscar Wilde’s classic usually performed but a fuller four-act version.
For its premier in 1895 actor-manager George Alexander wanted a shorter, tighter play and got Wilde to cut a whole act which Bryan Hands and Kenneth Michael’s production here restores.

“A trivial comedy for serious people” is what its author called it and it is a very funny one, at the expense of the brainless upper classes.

Its witty lines are so good you laugh afresh no matter how many times you have heard them. Marcus McSorley and Oliver Fabian give a youthful charm to the young aristos John and Algy – and Louise Houghton and Gemma Harvey match them with Gwendolen and Cecily, both determined to marry the imaginary Ernest.

John Worthing, J.P.

To its plot concerning marriage broking, a lost baby, a lost handbag, a fantasy diary and an imaginary invalid, this version adds a scene in which the law arrives to arrest John for non-payment of the massive restaurant bill he has run up at the Savoy under than name of Ernest.

It emphasises the irresponsibility of a character who can otherwise seem quite upright and underlines Wilde’s political critique. The play is attractively mounted in a clever folding set and has a delightful double in William Argent’s two butlers, with different moustaches.

Merriman

 

Aline Waites, Hampstead & Highgate Express

"The Importance" - again? The most famous comedy in the English language seems to pop up every couple of months. However it is presented, that incredible dialogue is still awe-inspiring.

The writing and the wit is, of course, unsurpassable, but the main charm is its utter heartlessness. There is no pretence - no altruism, every character is cheerfully selfish and that is what makes it so very special and so very funny.

Algernon Moncrieff & Cecily

Algernon Moncrieff

Jack & Cecily

Lady Bracknell

No one is going to make it to the altar without approval from Gwendolen’s mother and Algy’s aunt Lady Bracknell, a role for more than half a century in the shadow of Edith Evans’ grandiose performance. Frances Cuka is no imitation Evans. She finds her own reality in the part and has picked up on the fact that Bracknell was not wealthy when she married; she makes her very human, still careful to behave correctly for the position marriage brought her.

Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax

 

Prism with the Handbag
In this production, there is no attempt to reproduce any of the other versions. Oliver Fabian and Marcus McSorley who play Algy and Jack, the two cornerstones of the piece, are fresh and natural and their friendship seems totally real.

Frances Cuka can now join the line of respected actors who have played Lady Bracknell - and it is a triumph. She has the lightest of touches and every word she says seems to spring from the delightfully cold heart and acid tongue of her character. She even manages to surprise with her rendering of the line impersonated since it was uttered by Dame Edith Evans. One waits, in anticipation, for "A handbag?" It is worth waiting for!

Chasuble & Prism

Jack & Gwendolen

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