The REP returns to its roots with a pairing of two plays starring the same cast. Oscar Wilde’s wonderful wit shines throughout The Importance of Being Earnest, his celebrated satire about superficial social etiquette, and Tom Stoppard pays homage to Wilde’s wordplay in his sophisticated and cleverly constructed comedy Travesties. Viewed together these plays make for a tantalising theatrical experience, which we would like to invite you to indulge in…
To escape the seriousness of their daily lives, two young gentlemen living in Victorian England create elaborate cover stories in order to pursue more pleasurable pastimes.
Country dwelling Jack Worthing has decadent fun in London with his friend Algernon Moncrieff under the pretence that he is visiting his wayward brother, Ernest. But Ernest is just a figment of Jack’s imagination, a convenient excuse for his fun-filled excursions. And Jack actually goes by the name of his make-believe brother on his sojourns to the city, where things are complicated further by his infatuation with Algernon’s cousin, the delectable Gwendolen, whom he wishes to marry. But Algernon, who uses a similar ruse to Jack whenever he wishes to escape his dreary social duties, comes to suspect that his friend, who he knows only by his alter-ego, of living a double life.
Upon questioning, Jack reveals details of his staid but respectable life back in the country including the responsibility he has for his young ward Cecily Cardew. Intrigued by the prospect of meeting Cecily, Algernon follows Jack back to his country estate, appearing under the guise of Jack’s fictitious brother, Ernest. But with the arrival of Gwendolen and her mother, the imposing Lady Bracknell, the two men’s deceptions threaten to wreck their romantic endeavours and in the chaos that ensues both come to learn the peculiar importance attached to being “Ernest”.
A witty and frivolous farce, Wilde’s much loved and hugely influential play also serves as a searing satire on the shallow vanities and hypocrisies of the rigid class-based society in which Wilde lived.
For a plot synopsis, background information about the show and some ideas for further activity and discussion, check out our The Importance Of Being Earnest REP Insight resource materials
The Old Rep
- Address: Station Street, (Nearest car park is on Dudley Street), Birmingham, B5 4DY
- Box Office: 0121 236 4455
- Phone: 0121 236 4455
Past events in this season
A skillfully crafted comedy about a production of The Importance of Being Earnest