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The Importance Of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville theatre

Published 2 July 2015

What’s it all about?

Come on, don’t pull that one, you know the deal. This is the legendary Oscar Wilde’s best loved comedy and Adrian Noble has delivered here a sumptuously witty, comfortingly classic and gloriously silly take on the tale.

If you require a recap, here’s how it goes. Take two morally unscrupulous men and an equal pairing of flirtatiously fickle women with a penchant for the name Ernest.  Throw in a heap of award-winning porkies, a series of unfortunate coincidences and, of course, the terrifying matriarch Lady Bracknell and you have a recipe for a raucous comedy of errors so wonderfully ridiculous you can’t help but smile from start to finish.

Who’s in it?

So here in lies the twist. While Noble’s production does exactly what it says on the tin – stunning Victorian costumes, farcical direction and a conventionally pretty period set – David Suchet in the role of the steely Lady Bracknell gives the production the fresh, exciting spin it requires.

Rather than taking his cue from the rest of the cast’s flamboyant tone, Suchet is triumphantly measured in his snooty and hilariously dour turn, more Miss Trunchbull than Mrs Turnblad. Cutting an undeniably handsome figure as a woman, he does Lady Bracknell’s snobby disgust and ambitious resolve like no other, spitting out words and scrunching his face in a manner to rival even the Dowager Countess of Grantham. But just be warned, Suchet would have a field day with the pronunciation of her title…

What should I look out for?

Vanity and self-adoration from the play’s young lovers, as an accomplished young quartet comprising the energetic Philip Cumbus, Michael Benz, Emily Barber and Imogen Doel flirt, pose, charm and explode in fiery tempers to hilarious effect.

Oh and Suchet’s pronunciations again. You’ve never heard ‘country’ said quite like that before.

In a nutshell?

This is truly David Suchet as you’ve never seen him before as the star offers reinvention to a classic with a magnificent turn as a woman of steel.

Who was in the press night crowd?

It was red carpet central last night as the stars braved the heatwave in force to support Suchet, one of the acting world’s most respected and downright lovely performers. We spotted Samantha Bond, Zoë Wanamaker and Twiggy within a metre radius of us alone.

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Will I like it?

Taking inspiration from a long-running musical’s signage just down the road from The Importance Of Being Earnest, you already know you’re going to love this. You’ll likely laugh a beat before each zinger of a classic line is delivered and would happily give Suchet his standing ovation before he’s even made his grand entrance. But your admiration is more than justified in this sweet, silly and comfortingly familiar summer treat.


The Importance Of Being Earnest is booking at the Vaudeville Theatre until 7 November. You can book tickets through us or, for performances throughout August, Kids Week, our annual ticket promotion offering a free child’s ticket for every full priced ticket purchased.


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