The Importance of Being... Earnest?

What is the scariest thing in the world? Spiders… heights… whoever wins the conservative party leadership contest? None of the above. True fear is an actor not showing up for the performance of a play. This is the ingenious premise of The Importance Of Being… Earnest? Ernest, played by someone called Ernest, is missing. As the director, stagehand and other actors scramble to remedy the situation, the only solution is for an audience member to take the role. As the play progresses, more and more audience members will find themselves involved.

Perfectly produced pandemonium

As a reviewer, I felt I had to resist the urge to get involved myself. Gritting my teeth, I watched, eagerly taking notes. I knew, however, when the director came and sat next to me, I was in the danger zone. Soon enough, I had a microphone in my hand. All the members of the cast are really supportive and enthusiastic, and make those who come up onstage really comfortable. It is never a case of laughing at someone, but always laughing with. The play is really well formed, its jokes so very well tied to the plot. There exists both short and long term payoff to the jokes, which keeps the play innovative and downright entertaining. Slapstick comedy, misplaced props and scripts, and an intentional lack of cohesion among the cast and crew will have you chuckling every time.

The actors, as well, are characters in of themselves. They're actors playing actors playing Victorian socialites, and each exaggerated personality and performance really helps the comedy shine. My only complaint would be some of the jokes feel slightly formulaic. In some instances it feels as if the actors and director know what is coming. Josh Haberfield, playing the director, is really funny and shows a great affinity for showmanship and audience interaction. My only complaint would be I would have liked to have seen his performance be bigger and more exuberant, especially considering the other actors performing caricatures. I must say, however, that this is only a very minor gripe for a brilliantly fun show.

Every performance is unique, but in a planned way, ensuring the show remains funny every time. It is perfectly produced pandemonium. I wish I had the opportunity to go again, because I would, over and over again. If you have to see something at the fringe, this is it.

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Reviews by Ben Johanson

Pleasance Courtyard

The Importance of Being... Earnest?

★★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

The Glass Imaginary

Pleasance Courtyard

Rapsody

★★★★
Greenside @ Riddles Court

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee

★★★★
Greenside @ Riddles Court

The Masks of Oscar Wilde

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Out to Lunch

★★★

Since you’re here…

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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.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A faithful revival of Wilde's classic play is in chaos after the actors start dropping like flies. Will you step into the spotlight, tread the boards and save the show? Winner of Best Comedy Derek Award and 2021 Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show. Check out this smash-hit show before it hits the West End. Interactive, hilarious and a 'guaranteed great night out' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ***** (AskTheUshers.Wordpress.com). ***** (NorthWestEnd.co.uk). ***** (Derek Awards). ***** (MixUpTheatre.com).

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