Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest gets an all-male musical makeover in Belfast
A NEW co-production by Bruiser Theatre Company and the MAC will see an all-male cast performing Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest for a three-week run this Spring.
Regarded as one of his finest works, Oscar Wilde's humorous take on Victorian high society is arguably one of the Irish playwright's most enduring comedies.
Starring Joseph Derrington as protagonist Algernon Moncrieff and Joseph O'Malley as Jack Worthing, who become entangled in a hilarious plot, forcing each to maintain their fictitious personae 'Earnest' to win the hearts of two endearing 'women'.
Oscar Wilde's indomitable Lady Bracknell is played by Belfast actor Ross Anderson-Doherty, who is no stranger to pulling on a dress, having played the panto Dame in Belfast's Waterfront for the past four years.
But Lady Bracknall (played in the past in the West End by David Suchet), is no panto Dame.
"She's a Terminator in a frock," laughs Ross.
I suggest maybe she could mediate in the current political talks?
"She stands for no nonsense. If we sent her up to Stormont, she would have it sorted in half an hour."
Timeless themes of marriage, courtship, identity and mundane social obligations ring as true today in this punchy retelling of the classic as when Wilde first put pen to paper.
"It's still hilarious. The language is so witty and yet accessible. It draws the audience in – there are so many memorable lines," says Ross, who first read the play when he was a 14-year-old schoolboy.
Whilst this production stays true to original words and characters, Bruiser Theatre Company have put their unique stamp on it.
"Not only have we an all-male cast, but there is musical accompaniment," explains Ross.
"It is not a musical, but during transitions in scenes we all sing pieces which offer a wider insight into the life of Oscar Wilde, as well as some modern inferences."
As well as "a good night out", the actor hopes audiences will be challenged to engage in our society's ongoing gender equality debate.
"There is a cast of seven men, some of whom play women and whose love interests are both men and women" he says.
"At this time in Northern Ireland as we make inwards towards equality in marriage, it's tremendous to have this play staged in a mainstream venue."
:: The Importance of Being Earnest runs at Belfast's MAC theatre from March 24 to April 15. Tickets and full info via TheMACLive.com.