Oscar Wilde classic comes to Northampton

The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest
The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the most popular comedies of all time is coming to Northampton with an all star cast.

Gwen Taylor, Susan Penhaligon and Thomas Howes lead the cast for the latest production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest which comes to the Royal & Derngate from Tuesday May 8 to Saturday May 12.

In this witty and decadent revival, it sees Jack who wishes to marry Algernon’s cousin the beautiful Gwendolen but first he must convince her mother, the fearsome Lady Bracknell, of the respectability of his parents and his past.

For Jack, however, this is not as easy as it sounds, having started life abandoned in a handbag at Victoria station.

Wilde’s much-loved classic looks at the clash of town and country in a brilliant and wildly funny story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags. Playing the formidable Lady Bracknell is Coronation Street star Gwen Taylor who comes with a wealth of experience for comedy roles having previously appeared in Duty Free and Barbara.

The hapless Miss Prism will be played by veteran TV and stage actress Susan Penhaligon.

She is still recognised for her role in the controversial drama series of Bouquet of Barbed Wire and was seen most recently in the UK tour of the musical Cabaret.

Downton Abbey favourite Thomas Howes, who was William Mason in the ITV period drama, will play Algernon.

In her first non singing role, Broadway and West star Kerry Ellis will play Gwendolen except for performances on Tuesday and Thursday May 8 and 10 when the role will be taken by Hannah Louise Howell.

They will be joined by Geoff Aymer, Louise Coulthard, Peter Sandys-Clarke and Simon Shackleton, playing Chasuble, Cecily, Jack and Lane/Merriman respectively.

The Northampton dates will mark the final ones in the UK tour.

The show takes to the Royal stage from Tuesday May 8 to Saturday May 12 with performnances taking place at 7.45pm with matinee productions beginning at 2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, May 9, 10 and 12.

Tickets are priced from £10 to £33 excluding booking fees. For more details call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.