TV stars come out in Earnest

IT’S time for cucumber sandwiches and handbags as Oscar Wilde’s witty masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest opens at The Royal Theatre tomorrow.

In this the first Northampton Theatres production of the new season, ageless oracle Lady Bracknall is played by Carol Royle who made her name in the sitcom Life Without George.

She will be joined on stage by Oliver Chris – who played magazine photographer Luke Chatwin in the BBC comedy drama Rescue Me – as Algernon Moncrieff.

Accomplished actor John Quentin will play the Rev Canon Chasuble. His television credits include parts in Poirot, Kavanagh QC and Longitude and he has appeared in the Derek Jarman films Edward II, Blue and Wittgenstein.

Other actors appearing in the play include Naomi Frederick – who has been in The Inspector Linley Mysteries and Fields of Gold – as Cecily, Suzy Trayling – who has appeared in Hearts and Bones – as Gwendolen, and Tim Steed – who has been in Poirot – as Jack Worthing.

Linda Broughton, who takes the role of Miss Prism, has played a nurse in both Casualty and the movie Sliding Doors as well as appearing in Men Behaving Badly and Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. She is the only actor in the production who has been on the Northampton stage before, appearing in My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley in 1993.

The Importance of Being Earnest tells the story of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff who both bend the truth for their own ends. Jack assumes the identity of Ernest in town, where he courts the beautiful young Gwendolen, and while in the country he is the perfect guardian to his ward Cecily.

Determined to learn more about Jack’s double life and the charming Cecily, Algernon visits his country home pretending to be Ernest.

This production is directed by Bill Alexander, the Olivier award-winning associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and former head of The Birmingham Rep.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs from tomorrow until Saturday, September 28. Call the box office on Northampton 624811.