Mercury Theatre announces The Importance of Being Earnest revival

The Importance of Being Earnest poster

Mercury Theatre will be reviving Oscar Wilde’s beloved comedy The Importance of Being Earnest next spring.

A new in-house production will run at the Colchester venue from 1- 16 March 2024.

Directed by the Mercury’s Creative Director Ryan McBryde (They Don’t Pay? We Don’t Pay!, The Comedy of Errors), the revival will give Wilde’s dazzling wit a stylish makeover and will open the theatre’s 2024 season.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever written, The Importance of Being Earnest zings with contemporary relevance, subversively satirising the snobbery and hypocrisy of extreme wealth and excess.

The cast will feature Gillian Bevan (Holby City) as Mrs Bracknell, Horrible Histories stars Richard David-Caine and Harrie Hayes as Jack Worthing and Gwendolen Fairfax respectively and Elizabeth Bower (Doctors) Miss Prism.

They will be joined by Susannah Van Den Berg as Lane / Merriman, Mateo Oxley as Algernon Moncrieff, Claire Lee Shenfield as Cecily Cardew and Martin Miller as Rev Canon Chasuble.

Alongside McBryde, the production’s creative team comprises of Katie Lias as Designer, Lucía Sánchez Roldán as Lighting Designer, Beth Duke as Sound Designer, Marc Frankum as Casting Director and Chani Merrell as Assistant Director.

McBryde said: “We’re delighted to be launching our 2024 season with Wilde’s mirth inducing masterpiece. Though it is without doubt one of the funniest plays in the English language, Earnest often gets branded as a frivolous farce. But when you scratch away the surface the play is actually a scathing and subversive attack on the official order of English society, ridiculing our values and beliefs, demolishing the late nineteenth-century’s social and moral attitudes. Wilde’s skewering of class, marriage, hereditary privileges, education, religion, and gender identity is actually a scorching social satire, as relevant today as it was to our Victorian ancestors.”.

He continued: “We’re working with designer Katie Lias to dispel the myth that Earnest is a fusty, dusty Victorian period piece. We’re envisaging our version of Earnest as a bright, colourful and vibrant English fantasia embracing a retro chic aesthetic.”

For more information and tickets, visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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