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The Importance of Being Earnest


This timeless tale of identity, opulence and sharp-tongued wit follows the lives of the rich and ridiculous, all looking for something to do, someone to love and somewhere to belong.

For Jack and Algernon, being young and rich isn’t easy. In fact, being swathed in luxury is, well…depressing. Tired of the never-ending soirees and penthouse shindigs, they escape their anxious existence (and Lady Bracknell) in the pursuit of love, real love, like, proper adult, IRL love, all under the guise of the ever-enigmatic Ernest.

But love isn’t as easy as it seems. After all, Cecily and Gwendolyn have standards, not to mention a peculiar passion for the name of Ernest…

What wonderfully blue eyes you have Ernest. I hope you’ll always look at me like that, especially when other people are present

Oscar Wilde’s legendary, quintessential comedy, directed by Josh Roche, receives a dazzling makeover.

“Bringing any of Oscar Wilde’s plays to the Royal Exchange in 2023 is a privilege. He is a writer who constantly balances empathy with satire, reminding us how ridiculous we are, while also understanding our need to feel profound. I also think his plays are finding relevance at the moment. Wilde’s society of 1893 is disturbingly similar to our own in 2023.

However, what’s particularly exciting about bringing Earnest into the Royal Exchange is how well this modern space suits this classic play – a uniquely social, free and dynamic theatre for a timeless comedy of profound triviality”. 
Josh Roche, Director

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