A trivial comedy for serious people, Sydney Theatre Company presents a new production of the side-splitting Oscar Wilde favourite, The Importance of Being Earnest, at the Roslyn Packer Theatre this September.
Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing are two best friends who are both living double lives. In the city, they’re playboys with a libertine reputation, but in the country, they assume pious alter egos to get away from it all.
Things get sticky when love enters the mix and the men have to keep track of who they’re pretending to be and when. Floating haughtily above it all is the withering Lady Bracknell – Victorian London’s socialite extraordinaire and the gatekeeper of all things high society.
A stellar line-up of impeccable comedic talents will join theatre legend Helen Thomson as Lady Bracknell including Gareth Davies (Elvis), Melissa Kahraman (Bad Behaviour), Lucia Mastrantone (The Harp in the South), Brandon McClelland (Gold Diggers), Sean O’Shea (Amadeus), Emma O’Sullivan (Grand Horizons), Bruce Spence (A Cheery Soul), Megan Wilding (Gold Diggers) and Charles Wu (Miss Peony) are set to sparkle in this outrageous and brilliantly camp reimagining of one of theatre’s greatest comedies.
Period costumes are given an extravagant Met Gala-style twist as this sumptuous new production promises to skewer Victorian London’s class inequities with an extra dollop of farce. Wilde’s infamous wit will be met with the lush and bracingly contemporary style of acclaimed director Sarah Giles, who last had us in stitches with the madcap mid-century farce No Pay? No Way!
“On its surface, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a play about long-lost brothers and young love, but simmering beneath this seemingly rosy facade, is a very clever, very deep and searing evisceration of some of the greatest hypocrisies of modern society, many of which still resonate today,” said Giles.
“I’m excited to bring Wilde’s politics a little closer to the surface in this production, teasing out a whole new layer of humour in the process. In my mind, it’s as if Seinfeld, Blackadder, and Pride and Prejudice had a baby. And then that baby went to the Met Gala.”
“Then there’s this cast! Led by national treasure Helen Thomson, our ensemble of players is filled with some of Australia’s finest actors, comics and clowns. I’m so eager to get into the rehearsal room with them, to find our own way through Wilde’s text and bring a contemporary perspective to the politics and hilarity of this masterpiece,” said Giles.
The visionary creative team includes Charles Davis (Set Designer), Renée Mulder (Costume Designer), Alexander Berlage (Lighting Designer), Stefan Gregory (Composer & Sound Designer), Kenneth Moraleda (Assistant Director), Charmian Gradwell (Voice & Text Coach), and James Lew (Design Associate).
The Importance of Being Earnest
Roslyn Packer Theatre, Hickson Road, Walsh bay (Sydney)
Season: 9 September – 14 October 2023 (previews: 5 – 8 September)
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Image: Helen Thomson as Lady Bracknell – photo by Rene Vaile