Th' Importance of Bein' Earnest - a ★★★★★ comedy handbagging

★★★★★  Th' Importance of Bein' Earnest 

Luke Adamson and Toby Hampton’s production Th' Importance of Bein' Earnest, a smart reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s classic, is, without doubt, a tour de force triumph and joy.  

Quoting the production’s blurb, ‘everyone's favourite classic comedy relocates the action from Victorian London to a Yorkshire Council estate. The muscularity of the Yorkshire accent breathes new life into those famous lines, and the reconfigured social structure offers a brand new examination of class. Gone are the starched collars and cups of tea; in are the Leeds United football shirts and cans of Stella.’ 

Luke Adamson as Algernon & Joshua Welch as Jack
With the immortal words ‘a handbag’ from the 1952 film production of The Importance of Being Earnest, Dame Edith Evan stamped this quote firmly onto the British psyche, albeit many would have no idea of its exact provenance. All that doesn’t matter in this new version, which is stuff full of genuinely brilliantly funny moments and fabulous farce, as the piece is exquisitely transported up north.

Tea at the Ritz will never be quite the same as cucumber sandwiches become a euphemism for cocaine and likewise, bread and butter becomes a joint – all such spiffing fun, and to the ultimate credit of this wonderfully tight-knit ensemble. 

Millie Gaston as Cecily & Heather Dutton as Gwendolen
Luke Adamson as Algernon and Joshua Welch as Jack are a complete joy to behold and their performances are captivating, fascinating and full of undoubted originality. Heather Dutton as Gwendolen and Millie Gaston as Cecily both add tremendous humour and inventiveness into their roles, while Kitty Martin’s Lady Bracknell is gloriously class-conscious, not least when she exercises a Glasgow-hello with real aplomb and individual style – pure comedy genius! 

Kitty Martin as Lady Bracknell
Th' Importance of Bein' Earnest is a shamelessly clever, original and inventive reimagining of an Oscar Wilde classic, which he would most certainly endorse - no doubt commending to the hoi polloi with all alacrity too.
Photography by Cam Harle
Drayton Arms Theatre
153 Old Brompton Road
London, SW5 0LJ
Tuesday February 5 – Saturday February 23
Time 7:30pm Tuesday to Saturday evenings.
Tickets £14 - £16
Box office  020 7835 2301 and online at