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…

The REP presents a new production of Tom Stoppard’s skillfully crafted comedy.

Zurich, Switzerland at the height of World War I: a focal point for three of the Twentieth Century’s most radical and influential figures. James Joyce, Irish exile and modernist author; Vladimir Lenin, communist leader and lynchpin of the Russian Revolution and Tristan Tzara, avant garde poet and founder of the Dada movement are deep in discussion, sharing their thoughts on the turbulent times in which they live.

Years later Henry Carr, English consular official, similarly resident in Zurich, hazily recalls this momentous meeting of minds. But Carr’s fading memory paints an unreliable picture of calamitous mix-ups and mistaken identities. In a farcical brew, evoking the comic charm of Oscar Wilde and conjuring up scenarios reminiscent of Wilde’s mirthful masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, what emerges from the myriad twists and turns is a revelatory exploration of art, literature, philosophy and politics.

With an ingenious nod to Oscar Wilde’s dazzling wit, Travesties, along with his other plays, underlines Tom Stoppard’s reputation as one of our most imaginative and innovative playwrights.

REP Insights
For a plot synopsis, background information about the show and some ideas for further activity and discussion, check out our Travesties REP Insight resource materials

To listen to Tom Stoppard talking about Travesties on Radio 4’s Front Row click here

Date Time Venue Notes Prices Booking

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

Part of In Rep at The Old Rep Theatre

Past events in this season

The Importance of Being Earnest

The much loved, classic comedy

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Tom Stoppard may well have been the best 20th century writer/director. I've seen a production of Travesties in Canada, and now we're going to come and see it in England in 2011. Doing in in conjunction with The Importance of Being Earnest, with the same cast is a wonderful idea. We look forward to seeing both.

Long overdue! Travesties is one of Stoppard's funniest plays which only makes full sense by being played live in a theatre (although you could make both those claims for many others!) (Do I sound like a fan?) As ever, a preposterous yet true coincidence of history is the pivot for the magnificent plot of Travesties. The pairing of these plays is inspired, because so much of Travesties spoofs Earnest almost line for line, as Stoppard vies with Wilde to out-wit him.