The Importance of Being Earnest

  • 2 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
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Here's a not entirely expected piece of programming: this relatively overlooked modern dress fringe production of Wilde's great comedy transfers from Islington's tiny Old Red Lion to plug a two week gap in the Haymarket's schedule. Henry Filloux-Bennett directs.


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Average User Rating

2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
1 person listening

Awful. Tacky production, horrendously overacted. Shame it was the director who did this rather than the actors themselves. Crass and crude. I have never sat through this play and wanted to leave before. Adding Primark references did not enhance the play at all. Cheap humour. Almost every line in this play is funny, why be so desperate to find additional humour with cheap references and gags. Hideous costumes - Lady Gaga would have fit right in. Concept was flawed and made no overall sense. Truly one of the worst evenings in the theatre.

Aaron Savage

I have to agree with the views of Adam Ford. This was a truly awful production. However I blame the director rather than the players. There was absolutely no respect for Wilde's text, which seems to me to demonstrate arrogance in the extreme. Either the director did not understand the text or completely mistrusted it's ability to produce a good response from the audience. Why he felt it necessary to have a preoccupation with breaking the fourth wall of the proscenium arch is beyond me and also unnecessary. As for the cast, if I had been told that there would be that much ham on the stage I probably wouldn't have eaten before the performance. Surely this is the way they were directed though, and not how they believe a play should be acted. Thank goodness it closed and made way for better conceived productions, although why it was there in the first place is a subject perhaps only Oscar Wilde could have fully explored with the outrage and wit the subject deserves.

Adam Ford

Guys, sorry but you butchered this classic piece. How the hell this was ever allowed in to the West End will remain forever beyond me. A couple of actors showed some promise but on the whole the standard is deplorable and the direction blunt. And if you are going to update a period piece with modern props or whatever - go for it, but please! Commit to what you are doing! This should seriously have stayed at the Red Lion. I'm not sure it should even have made it that far.


Abysmally, dismally, life-shorteningly bad. I feel awful for the actors in this incompetantly directed mess, many of whom were working admirably hard to try to make it work, but alas in vain. It was like student revue or bad amdram. I was so looking forward to a fun, incisive updating of this play, of which there have been so many turgid identikit stagings; unfortunately it was anything but invigorated and left me longing for the end. Not just of the play but an end to all things, so long as it brought my suffering to a close with it. I was so desperate for distraction I even stumped up for an ice cream at the interval, small comfort that it was.