A satirical masterpiece with an elegant set and sophisticated costumes is this summer's treat at the Lyric Theatre Belfast.
Rehearsals for Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest have begun at the Lyric where the cast are already causing a stir.
Two male actors have been cast in female roles – fitting for the celebrated play in which double lives and double standards abound.
The iconic Lady Bracknell is being played by Paddy Scully, and Richard Orr, who recently starred with Adrian Dunbar at the Lyric in Brendan at the Chelsea, plays Miss Prism.
One of the leading (real) men, Algernon, is played by Aaron McCusker, best known for his role as Jamie in hit TV series, Shameless.
Described as a “Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde’s best-loved and considered the funniest play in the English Language. With its witty dialogue and well observed satire about our sense of duty, keeping up appearances and our obsession with social status, it is no less relevant today than it was in Victorian times.
Two young men, Jack and Algernon are looking for escape from social obligations and pretend to be something that they are not... Earnest.
Things start to go awry when they both practice their deceptions at the same time with two young ladies, Cecily and Gwendolyn, at Cecily’s country house. The two young ladies fear themselves rivals for the hand of one man. To thwart matters further, the formidable Lady Bracknell won’t even contemplate Gwendolyn marrying someone who was discovered as an infant at a railway station cloakroom in a handbag!
The stage is set for a hilarious evening of high farce. Audiences will also discover a feast of fine costumes and a stunningly elegant set courtesy of renowned designer Robin Peoples.
Graham McLaren directs an excellent cast that also includes Patrick Moy (Jack), Ailish Symons (Cecily), Melody Grove (Gwendolyn), Niall Cusack (Laine/Merriman) and Paddy Jenkins (Rev Chausable).
“If you’ve seen it before or are new to Oscar Wilde, I think you’ll love this gently subversive, utterly outrageous play,” said director Graham McLaren. “It is without doubt the funniest play in the English Language.”
Rhonda Gibson, External Relations Manager at Northern Bank said: “We are delighted that Oscar Wilde’s classic is coming to the Northern Bank Stage and expect it to be a resounding success with the quality of the cast and set design.”
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, commented: “As Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre, this Lyric production of an Oscar Wilde favourite is bound to be a treat for all theatre-lovers this summer. It is as witty and relevant to audiences now as it was 100 years ago.”
The Importance of Being Earnest runs on the Northern Bank Stage from Sunday 3 June to Saturday 7 July.