CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Review: Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, Split Second Productions

PUBLISHED: 17:21 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:21 09 May 2018

Jack Coleby as Gwendolen Fairfax and Alex Hooper as Cecily Cardew

Jack Coleby as Gwendolen Fairfax and Alex Hooper as Cecily Cardew


We all need a bit of silliness in our lives, and Split Second Productions’ adaptation of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ will have you laughing the whole way through and leaving with a smile on your face

A performance by Split Second Productions always comes as a bit of a surprise to its audiences but what you can always guarantee is an inventive and unique twist on literary classics.

We have previously been impressed with their adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing on a sunny evening in the grounds of Berkeley Castle and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the castle’s beautiful Great Hall, and now it was the turn of Oscar Wilde’s quintessentially British, and hilarious, The Importance of Being Earnest.

The story is one of satirical greatness; poking fun at the uptight values of the day. John Worthing and his friend Algernon Moncrieff, both have alternative identities, or an “invalid friend”, to suit their needs, Worthing’s alter ego Ernest and Algernon’s Bunbury. What follows is a case of mistaken identities, plenty of silliness and laughter, and a lesson, it’s always important to be earnest. And of course, there’s plenty of tea and cucumber sandwiches – it is Victorian England after all!

Wilde’s cherished play has been immortalised on stage and screen a number of times but we highly doubt you’ve seen it quite like this. Under the direction of Jaq Bessel and Bryan Hodgson, this interpretation is fantastically original and laugh-out-loud funny.

Jack Coleby as Algernon Moncrieff and Alex Hooper as John 'Jack' WorthingJack Coleby as Algernon Moncrieff and Alex Hooper as John 'Jack' Worthing

Taking on the challenging task of playing four characters each, Jack Coleby and Alex Hooper are wonderfully engaging throughout, whether they’re portraying the dominating Lady Bracknell or, at the drop of an extravagant hat (quite literally), John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff.

It was truly something to see the two actors perfectly play such a broad range of parts, as well as flawlessly get into character every time, and we just adored Coleby’s Gwendolen and Hooper’s Cecily. Clad in pink shawls and ladies’ hats, the two actors gave a perfectly feminine portrayal of the love rivals after the ‘same man’, complete with girly giggles, facial expressions and Cecily’s exaggerated flouncing around the stage.

Once again, Split Second Productions have made the most of a stunning venue. Audiences surround the stage area in Berkeley Castle’s Great Hall, and the setting is a simple but effective one. A chaise lounge, champagne and garden furniture is all that’s needed, and, of course, a screen for the two actors to make those quick costume changes. More striking venues are coming up on the tour, including Blackfriars Priory, Westonbirt House and Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

We all need a bit of silliness in our lives, and Split Second Productions’ adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest will have you laughing the whole way through and leaving with a smile on your face.

Jack Coleby as Gwendolen Fairfax and Alex Hooper as Cecily CardewJack Coleby as Gwendolen Fairfax and Alex Hooper as Cecily Cardew

The Split Second Productions’ reimagining of The Importance of Being Earnest is to tour the UK from April 28 – June 3, and will include a number of venues in the Cotswolds. For the full list of venues, and to book tickets, visit the company’s website here.

Find Split Second Productions on Facebook and Twitter.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search