Today: June 21, 2024

Great Cinema – In Earnest

It’s sad but true that the very best seats for the very best theatre productions can often be eye-wateringly expensive. That was, of course, before the advent of ‘live cinema’ which has made the creme of London’s West End available to both curious cinema-goers and over-taxed theatre buffs at out of town prices. You can even throw in diabetes-inducing amounts popcorn and cola, and still call it a bargain night out.

This Autumn, The Importance Of Being Earnest starring David Suchet as the irrepressible Lady Bracknell, is the latest hit show to get the live cinema treatment.

If you live in London, then you’re probably be familiar with the posters for The Importance Of Being Earnest – featuring Mr Suchet with lippy and feathered bonnet. However, this slice of theatre perfection will be available for everyone to enjoy when it’s screened across UK & Irish cinemas this October. Brought to you by satellite in high definition and 5.1 Surround Sound from the Vaudeville Theatre in London, and with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews, the best seat in the house now means just grabbing a ticket at your local cinema.

First performed in 1895, Earnest is arguably Oscar Wilde’s airiest, breeziest comedy. But while on the surface the play is frivolous and fun, Wilde’s witty aphorisms are also slyly mocking of class, wealth, and the hypocrisy that formed the very foundation of respectable Victorian ‘society’. The result is a play in which every scene, every line, is as clever, subversive, and witty as the author himself.

The play hinges on two bachelor friends – the adorable dandy Algernon Moncrieff and the utterly reliable John Worthing J.P. – whose double lives lead to exquisite complications. Needless to say the gallants quickly find themselves in over their heads, much to the disapproval of their fiancés and the formidable Lady Bracknell.

Director Adrian Noble’s delirious new take on this old classic opened at the Thetare Royal in Nottingham in May before heading to London’s Vaudeville Theatre.

But while it’s true that David Suchet’s gloriously calculating and disdainful Lady Bracknell absolutely dominates the stage, this is no one-horse play. Philip Cumbus is magnificent as the crumpet-devouring Algernon. Clearly his time at Shakespeare’s Globe has taught him exactly how to keep an audience hanging on his every move. Imogen Doel’s wide-eyed Cecily is a perfect blend of petulance and innocence. Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do Ave Em) and Richard O’Callaghan (Carry On) add charm and sparkle to the often neglected comic potential embodied in the characters of Miss Prisom and Rev. Chasuble. In fact, this fabulously farcical production  breathes new life into every well-known line. When the audience are choking with laughter and the cast is close to corpsing … you know you’re doing something right.

Great theatre makes great cinema and this production is one that theatre and cinema audiences are sure to be talking about for years to come.

Catch your seat on 8th October at 7.15pm. Recorded screenings will be available, worldwide, from November 2015 and the play will screen in cinemas across the USA on Tuesday 3rd November. Visit for more details.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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