Being Earnest

Mar 28 2017 | By More

EPT play Wilde at the Church Hill

Edinburgh People’s Theatre is bringing one of the best loved and best known plays in English back to the Church Hill Theatre this week, opening Wednesday 29 March 2017.

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a “trivial comedy for serious people” has not stopped delighting audiences since its first performance in 1895 and will no doubt be doing so from Wednesday to Saturday, even if it is playing for four performances only.

Mike Brownsell and Pat Hymers

Mike Brownsell and Pat Hymers

It was certainly still giving up laughs in 1965, when it was the first ever play performed in the newly converted Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh’s only dedicated theatre for amateur companies.

And even though that first production had to have an even-handed approach, and was produced “under the supervision” of the SCDA, an EPT member at the time, Deryk Gould, played Algernon Moncrieff.

Oscar Wilde’s inspired dialogue and sparkling wit makes the play one of the most quoted in the English language and has produced some truly memorable renditions of that simple question, exclamation and cry of bewilderment: “A Handbag?”.


Helen Hammond, who played Mummy Bear in the 2016 EPT panto, is directing the show. She said: “I feel enormously privileged to present one of best loved plays in the English language as my directing debut with Edinburgh People’s Theatre. I hope our audiences will enjoy our performances as much as we have enjoyed rehearsals!”

Mike Brownsell, Kelly Simmonds, Helen E Nix, Stephanie Hammond and Pat Hymers.

This time the role of Algernon, he with the fictitious friend Bunberry who he uses as an excuse to spend time out of town, is taken on by Mike Brownsell. John Worthing, his real friend who he knows as Ernest and who is Jack in the country, will be played by Pat Hymers.

The young ladies to whom each presents himself as Ernest, sophisticated Gwendolyn Fairfax and Jack’s ward, Cecily Cardew, will be played by Stephanie Hammond and Kelly Simmonds.

The formidable Lady Bracknell, of Handbag fame, will be played by Helen E Nix, while Bev Wright will be the unfortunate Miss Prism and Graham Bell, the Rev. Canon Chasuble. Meanwhile, Kevin Rowe will be off hunting for cucumbers as Algernon’s long-suffering man-servant Lane. He is unlikely to find them available, even for ready money.

Unlike the laughs in the production, which are pretty much guaranteed.

The Importance of Being Earnest
Church Hill Theatre, 33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR
Wednesday 29 March – Saturday 1 April 2017.
Evenings Wed – Fri: 7.30pm; Sat, matinee only: 2.30pm.
Tickets £12 (£10 concs) from


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