The premiere Broadway production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" opened at the Lyceum Theater (New York City) on April 22, 1895, ran for 12 performances and has been revived in New York City eight times since as of 2010. See more »
Oscar Wilde's most famous play is best known via the excellent 1950s version with Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, and Edith Evans, and that film is still the benchmark by which other productions must stand or fall.
Aside from the modern version with Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, and Judi Dench (which misfires badly), the only other version widely available is a truncated one with Paul McGann, Rupert Frazer, and Joan Plowright, which is OK, but not that memorable.
That leaves this version, actually made in 1981 (confirmed by the copyright date at the end) but released in 1985 to television.
Heading the cast is the great Wendy Hiller as Lady Bracknell, who manages to make the old witch even seem likable in places and who speaks the lines beautifully, with Gary Bond note-perfect as Jack Worthing (in turn pompous, ridiculous, charming, and hysterical), and Jeremy Clyde as Algy Moncrieff, a frightfully silly gentleman who loves nothing more than escaping to the country for a 'Bunbury' (i.e. a great adventure).
Highly recommended and great fun - it is a shame this production isn't more easily available.
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