The Importance of Being Earnest

University theatre group Gone Rogue Productions brings us a genuinely funny hour's entertainment with this production of a beloved classic.

It actually becomes a bit hard to work out why they've gender-flipped the play at all.

Oscar Wilde's seminal farce tells the story of Jack Worthing, a respectable gentleman in the country, who occasionally likes to go up to town under the alias of “Ernest”. He wants to marry Gwendolen Fairfax, but her formidable mother won't let her because Jack has no idea of his heritage, having been found in a handbag in Victoria Station when he was a baby.

Gone Rogue's 'gimmick' (their words) is that all the female parts are played by male actors, and vice-versa. It comes as a great relief that they avoid the trap of making a joke out of this fact. We are never expected to find it funny that there are men wearing dresses. Instead, the humour emerges from the characterisation; the actors play to their characters' genders, but they only overdo it to the extent that you’d expect in a farce. It actually becomes a bit hard to work out why they've gender-flipped the play at all. If the characters themselves had been flipped, and we had been confronted with a wild, man-about-town, female Jack, this might have been some sort of social commentary. As it stands, it's really just slightly unusual casting with no clear purpose.

It is quite clear that the cast are not professional actors, but none the less, there are some standout performances. Chris Barlow and Robin Johnson are very entertaining as Cecily and Gwendolen, and Johnson in particular brings a catty humour to his presentation. Ian Wainwright is a very commanding Lady Bracknell, and aside from a few issues with diction he’s very funny.

Some very enjoyable audience participation is included in the form of Miss Prism, who is cast from a member of the audience. Everyone in the cast gives the impression of having a very nice time. It's infectious and the spirit of the delivery becomes much more important than the execution.

Reviews by Grace Knight

Kings theatre

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

★★★★
King's Theatre

Legally Blonde

★★★★
King's Theatre

The Sound of Music

★★★★★
Theatre Royal Glasgow

The Crucible

★★★
Theatre Royal Glasgow

Jane Eyre

★★
Theatre Royal Glasgow

Little Shop of Horrors

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A fast paced gender-swapped retelling of Oscar Wilde's enduringly popular play. Wit, satire and social commentary collide to look at the roles of men and women in theatre in this energetic farce. Follow a group of actors, under the tutelage of Lane and Merriman, get to grips with playing the opposite sex onstage. Larger than life pantomime performance, slick sarcasm and an audience member conscripted to play the role of Miss Prism for the final act make for a recipe for challenging and enthralling whimsy.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets