Lawrence Batley Theatre and The Dukes digital production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Written by Yasmeen Khan and directed by Mina Anwar. The production is online from 19 April to 4 May 2021.
Set among the cobbles and stone walls of the North, in this very modern take on Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, struggling actor Jamil and rom-com star Algy come together in the pursuit of love, being true to yourself and Nando’s.
The full cast is Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge, Wuthering Heights) who will play the title role of Earnest/Jamil, Tom Dixon (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet) as Algy, Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Thin Blue Line) as Ms Begum, Nikki Patel (Trojan Horse, Coronation Street) as Gul, Zoe Iqbal (Finding Fatimah, Ackley Bridge) as Safina and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre) as Miss Prism.
With appearances from finalist of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Divina De Campo as herself, star of stage and screen Paul Chahidi as international film director Steve Merriman, award-winning actor, comedian and writer Hugh Dennis as Tony, actress Harriet Thorpe as Algy’s agent Alison and comedian Sindhu Vee as daytime TV presenter, Libby.
Our Q&A with Melanie Marshall
Q: How has it been performing in a production for film and without an audience?
Melanie: It has been a glorious experience!! Rehearsing on Zoom, then only meeting in the Lawrence Batley Theatre to film my particular scenes with 5 other actors for two days! It was a quick turnaround, but the whole process was so friendly and fun-filled thanks to Mina Anwar who was the Director and she was also playing one of the main parts. The lack of an audience only became apparent when I would look out into the theatre and long for a reaction/laugh/applause. I crave that normality again… soon !!!!
Q: Can you tell us about your character and this adaptation?
Melanie: Without giving too much away, I play the role of Miss Prism… and this adaptation is a slight detour from the original… I enjoyed playing her immensely! The play is set up North… so the humour and accents go hand in hand. The play is one of my favourites and I can’t wait for you all to see it!
Q: Why should ‘theatregoers’ book to watch this production of The Importance of Being Earnest?
Melanie: I had so much fun doing this! So many performances have been available online for everybody to create their own armchair theatre ambience and this is no different! It’s a great adaptation, thanks to the writer Yasmeen Khan, who has taken this fabulous play of Oscar Wilde, set it up North and you will have a great evening, I promise !!
Buy your ticket, reserve your seat on the sofa, and enjoy!
Melanie Marshall’s theatre credits include Only Fools and Horses (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic, NT & International and UK tour), The Infidel (Theatre Royal Stratford East), FELA! (NT, Broadway & World Tour), Porgy and Bess, Elsa Canesta & L’Eveil (Rambert Dance), The Fat Lady Sings with Kit & the Widow, Simply Heavenly (Young Vic & Trafalgar Studios), Carmen Jones (Sheffield Crucible and Old Vic) and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Tricycle and Lyric).
Co-produced by Lawrence Batley Theatre and The Dukes
Based on the play by Oscar Wilde
Dates: 19 April – 4 May
Writer: Yasmeen Khan
Director: Mina Anwar
Set & Costume Designer: Holly Pigott
Sound Designer: Dave Bintley
Lighting Designer: Douglas Kuhrt
First Assistant Director: Eleri Jones
Second Assistant Director: Olivia Race
Cast: Mina Anwar, Paul Chahidi, Divina de Campo, Hugh Dennis, Tom Dixon, Zoe Iqbal, Melanie Marshall, Nikki Patel, Gurjeet Singh, Harriet Thorpe, Sindhu Vee
Tickets (£12) are available internationally from importanceofbeingearnest.com with audience members receiving a link at the point of booking which will activate at 00:01 GMT on their booked performance date for a 48-hour period.