The Importance of Being Earnest

Tues 22nd - Sat 26th May 2012

Director: Olly Medlicott

Roehampton University Theatre
Digby Stuart Drive

, Roehampton University

Roehampton Lane

SW15 5PU

Read the NODA review here


At the opening of the play, two friends, Earnest Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, are discussing the benefits of social deception. Earnest confesses that, when in the country, he is Jack Worthing, a respectable and serious man who has the misfortune of having a younger brother named Earnest who is something of a libertine. Thus he is able to assume the identity of his non-existent brother when he wishes to enjoy the delights of life in the city.

Algernon, meanwhile, confides that he has a fictional relative living in the country, an invalid named Bunbury, whom he is obliged to visit whenever he needs to avoid an odious social obligation. Jack has come to visit Algernon in order to propose to his cousin Gwendolen, but the arrival of Gwendolen is complicated by the fact that she is accompanied by her formidable aunt, Lady Bracknell. Whilst Algernon distracts her chaperone, Jack manages to make the proposal, but is somewhat perturbed by the fact that Gwendolen seems to have accepted largely because he has the name Earnest. He resolves to have himself re-christened by the local Canon, Chasuble, as soon as possible.

But the two are discovered by Lady Bracknell, who is horrified to discover Jack was adopted after being discovered in a handbag at Victoria station, and she forbids all further contact between the two of them. Algernon, meanwhile, has discovered that Jack has a wealthy ward named Cicely. Without Jack’s consent, he goes to his house and, pretending to be the errant younger brother Earnest, he soon succeeds in charming Cicely despite the presence of her frosty governess, Miss Prism. In an effort to put his double life behind him, Jack then arrives in full mourning dress, announcing the death of his younger brother, a claim somewhat complicated by the presence of Algernon in the guise of Earnest.

The arrival of Gwendolen further complicates events, as the two young women, who initially meet alone, are both indignantly certain that they are engaged to Earnest. When Algernon and Jack reappear, their deceptions are exposed, but before matters can be resolved Lady Bracknell arrives. Her initial displeasure at the discovery that Algernon and Cicely are engaged is dispelled when she discovers how wealthy the young lady is, but a stalemate ensues when Jack refuses consent for the marriage of his ward to Algernon unless Lady Bracknell allows him to marry Gwendolen.

Amidst the confusion, Lady Bracknell suddenly recognises Miss Prism as the family governess who, twenty-eight years earlier, took a baby boy for a walk in a perambulator and never returned. Miss Prism reveals that she lost the boy when, in a moment of abstraction, she accidentally put him into a handbag and left him at Victoria station. Jack still has the handbag he was found in as a boy, and as his identity as Algernon’s long-lost brother is proven, no objection remains on the part of Lady Bracknell as to his suitability as a husband for Gwendolen. She herself, however, stubbornly insists that she will only marry a man who bears the name Earnest. A breathless hunt through the family archives ensues, until the happy discovery that Jack’s real name is, indeed, Earnest.


Algernon - Mark Smith
Lane - Oliver Samson
Jack/Ernest - Alan Reiss
Gwendolen - Flo Nash
Lady Bracknell - Alison Walters
Miss Prism - Laura Harrison
Cecily - Holly Manning


All photos of this production were taken by Jonathon Vines

Show Reviews

“Cygnet Players should once again be rightly proud of what they achieved with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Comedy is notoriously difficult to do well but they sailed through this with ease, giving us frequent laughs, toe-tapping dance routines and left me wanting to download the cast recording so I could re-live some of the numbers.”

 “Rachel Kitchen’s portrayal of Jolene was one of the highlights of the show for me. She had great energy and led the number Oklahoma brilliantly.”

Sarah McPartlan
Musical Theatre Musings Review

“Jonny Clines as the leading con man was suave and projected the regal feel essential for his unlikely background as a deposed prince … His rendition of ‘Love sneaks in’ was the musical highlight of the show.”

“Charlotte Donald, a superb dancer as well as an excellent singer, was perfect for the part giving it real presence.”

Tony Sweeney
NODA Review

“The highlight is Hughes as Freddy ... so very natural and understated in the role that it is perfectly pitched. From rookie swindler, to devastated sufferer of Dance Fever, to PC-challenging Ruprecht, each role is effortlessly portrayed with comic timing to boot.”

“What I really enjoyed ... was the amount of dance and ensemble movement ... Choreographer Kim Schenkelaars created simple, beautiful routines that seamlessly complemented the songs.”

"Cygnet Players have once again charmed me with their simple and precise portrayal of a show.”

From the House Seats Review

“The comedy duo that really came into their own during act two was Katy Thompson and Russell Bramley. They were perfect together, and their post-coital scene on the balcony was laugh-out-loud funny. Russell particularly had exceptional comic timing throughout.”

“I also absolutely adored all the costumes. The whole show was a rainbow of colour.”

Jess Pether
Sardines Review

"Rachel Kitchen (Elle) was ideal for the role and her transformation from a blonde airhead to a strong savvy woman really gave the show backbone and was delivered to perfection"

Tony Sweeney
NODA Review

"Kate Chesworth played the comedic role of Paulette and this was an example of perfect casting. Her facial expressions alone had me laughing along with Paulette, with the Irish section in Legally Blonde remix being a perfect example."

"This is a fun production which is worth seeing for Rachel Kitchen as Elle alone. It stays true to the spirit of Legally Blonde and they balance the froth on the surface well with its true message of looking beneath the surface. Well done to all at Cygnet players for another success!"

Sarah McPartlan
Musical Theatre Musings Review

"It really was a bright and lively piece, which sits up there with several previous Cygnets shows."

"The show's final number, 'Look at me', left me in tears - these three ladies were a true triumph and all equally impressive."

"The production line of outstanding productions continues apace. Congratulations to all involved."

Steve Macvicar
NODA Review

"The was an excellent production of a technically complex show, and should be considered a great achievement for this rapidly expanding company."

"Charlotte Donald, Helen Burgess-Bartlett and Rhian Roberts effectively owned the stage each time they appeared, ensuring all eyes were upon them, and playing off each other very effectively."

Chris Abbott
Sardines Review

Past Show Photos

Sweet Charity

See the show photos!



See the show photos!


The Importance of Being Earnest

See the show photos!