London Classic Theatre bring The Importance of Being Earnest to Lincoln
When an identity crisis spirals out of control, town and country will collide with delicious mayhem as London Classic Theatre bring The Importance of Being Earnest to the region.
Oscar Wilde's theatrical masterpiece, which the LCT will perform at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, has been entertaining audiences with wonderful characters, sparkling dialogue, gloriously improbable plot twists and a sprinkling of romance for more than 120 years.
Even for those who aren't regular theatre goers, there's a charming appeal about the play which draws audiences in.
"It includes some of the most famous quotes in the English language," says company founder and artistic director Michael Cabot. "Personally I also think the play's popular because it's such a well written piece.
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"We did tour The Importance of Being Earnest last autumn for 12 weeks.
"Although you know it's going to get the schools and college audiences in, and traditional drama audiences as well, we were getting audiences right across the board, all ages."
Jack is in love with Gwendolen. Algernon is in love with Cecily. But what no one knows is that Jack has invented for himself an alibi, a scandalous brother called Ernest. For years, Ernest has led a life of pleasure and is always getting into trouble which requires Jack to rush off to his assistance. But Earnest is simply the name Jack goes by in London. That is, until Algernon decides to take on the persona for himself and chaos ensues.
Thoughts of marriage and a happy ending must be put on hold until the inimitable Lady Bracknell can be convinced that the young men are worthy suitors.
The Importance of Being Earnest was first performed in London in 1895 – and has rarely been off stage or screen since. A comedy of manners, Oscar Wilde's work has become famous for skilled wordplay and comic invention.
Michael says: "One of the things I wanted to do with it was bring a sense of the characters being very real and not over played or obviously comic – to try and connect with the story and narrative through the characters.
"Wilde was terrifically clever, able to turn a phrase and a great comic. He was also a great playwright and Earnest is so exquisite, so clever, there isn't a line or thought wasted in the play. Every single note in this play is a pleasure.
"When you try and peal back the layers you can also find a humanity and even a psychology – it's quite gratifying – there's a lot to work with."
In 2010, London Classic Theatre celebrated ten years on tour, having performed to more than 300,000 people at in excess of 150 theatres and arts centres around the UK and Ireland. The company produces a wide variety of drama for audiences in venues of all scales and sizes.
"My intention was to always do great plays, work with great actors and breathe new life into some perhaps forgotten classics or those not reaching a wider audience," says Michael.
"We have mainly stuck to modern classics so The Importance of Being Earnest is a bit of a stray away from that for us really. We are eager to get work out as far and wide as we can."
Thursday and Friday, March 14-15, 7.30pm. Tickets: £15/£13 Concs (£5 Under 26s and Students). Box office: 0844 888 4414, www.lpac.co.uk