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

"Zoe Dobell brought her directing experience to this production and is to be congratulated for a hugely successful show. This was a classy performance delivered to a high standard by a quality cast. The attention to detail throughout ensured everything ran like clockwork." 

"The three leads were quite simply exemplary, and carried the show with great confidence. Andrew Overin, as Franklin Shepard, is both a great singer and a consummate actor.  Andrew was more than ably matched by Adam Walker-Galbraith as Charley Kringas and Olga-Marie Pratt as Mary Flynn. Most of the songs are narrative and required considerable acting skills as well as emotional delivery to get them across. It was soon apparent that in the hands of these three it was never going to be a problem. Together they owned the stage and held the audience’s attention perfectly."

"This show proved to be yet another excellent production.  I am quite certain that the entire audience, like me, left feeling hugely impressed with the quality of this cast and Cygnet Players in general."

Des Wilby
NODA Review

"I watched the show with a composer, arranger, conductor and sometime performer of Sondheim musicals. He and I were blown away."

"The show takes off with the television interview scene in which Charley Kringus lets rip at Franklin in the number named after him. The audience were close to a standing ovation as Adam Walker-Galbraith (and the orchestra) concluded this spectacularly complex piece of musical dexterity."

"Russell Bramley does an excellent job of building his Joe Josephson character backwards from a broken cuckolded man to confident impresario. Russell notes in the programme that he fell in love with this show when it played at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013. I would be surprised if this Cygnet performance does not at least equal the 2013 show."

Frank Kaye
Sardines Review

"This was quite simply an exceptional show that oozed class and quality throughout."

"The quality of the band, and music produced, was of a very high class and never overshadowed those speaking or singing."

"Kim Findlay (Choreographer) ensured this show delivered what was expected – a truly stunning visual spectacle from a 17-strong tap dancing ensemble. The quality of dancing, precision and timing were nothing short of superb."

"The extremely versatile, and talented, Nick Moorhouse was perfectly cast in the lead male role of Jerry Travers. The sheer quality of dancing, whilst singing, was exceptional and appeared almost effortless."

Des Wilby
NODA Review

"Charlotte Donald, who I have seen tread the boards many times for Cygnet Players, was Dale Tremont. This is possibly my favourite role I have seen her in as it really showed off her dance ability and as that famous line goes, she did it all backwards and in heels!"

"Adam Walker-Galbraith verges on stealing the show as the hilarious Beddini. His attention to detail in his character ensured that he ensured every moment he was on stage was pure comedy."

"Top Hat is a show Cygnet Players should be proud of. With polished dance, strong principals and ensemble and an impressive set works together to create an enjoyable and impressive show."

Sarah McPartlan
Musical Theatre Musings Review

"Huge congratulations must go to Adam Walker-Galbraith on his musical directing debut and for delivering such a resounding success. The non-stop action, and overall pace, ensured the audience was immediately involved in, and remained enthralled throughout, the entire show. As musical directing debuts go, this was a fantastic achievement and something to look back on with pride."

"Congratulations must also be given to Lauren O’Mara who choreographed this show superbly."

"Jamie Miller-Hughes was truly fantastic in the hugely demanding role of Doralee. Not only did Jamie look, and act, the part of a country girl but she sang beautifully and had a terrific Southern accent."

"Kate Chesworth excelled as Violet, the long suffering supervisor who’d been repeatedly passed over for promotion in a male-dominated office environment. Kate’s acting and singing were both superb and I particularly enjoyed ‘Around Here’, where she introduced Judy to Consolidated Industries’ lengthy list of high expectations."

"This truly was an excellent performance, a very enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment, and most definitely ‘value for money’ in anyone’s eyes."

Des Wilby
Noda Review

"Cygnet Players is fortunate to have a formidable trio of women take on (the lead) roles. The moments where these 3 women were on stage fronting a number were consistently high standard and really stood out."

"Charlotte Donald ... had a nice vulnerability and awkwardness about her and knew how to time her comedy well. Her big number 'Get Out and Stay Out' deservedly drew cheers from the audience."

Sarah McPartlan
Musical Theatre Musings Review


“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

Past Show Photos

Sweet Charity

See the show photos!



See the show photos!


The Importance of Being Earnest

See the show photos!

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