Thursday Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest

A handbag!

The defining line from Oscar Wilde’s sly, witty, subversive play, The Importance of Being Earnest. This is the 1986 film, with links to the remaining parts.

Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11

4 thoughts on “Thursday Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest

  1. You’ve caused me to while away an hour on this. I hadn’t seen this version and I skipped to the handbag scene, then to the same scene with Edith Evans in audio on YouTube, then to the movie with Judi Dench and Colin Firth. Surprisingly, I find I prefer Joan Plowright’s Lady Bracknell, and Colin Firth’s Worthing. I was interested in the way Judi Dench whispered “Handbag?” (in contrast to Evans’ famous reading)—but I kept seeing her as the steely M. I think Plowright struck the right balance between theatrical and naturalistic. This is one of my favourite plays and I never tire of it. It recently enjoyed a sell-out run in Australia with Geoffrey Rush as Lady Bracknell. Here’s an interesting review from the Sydney Morning Herald: “Geoffrey Rush does something far more interesting and exhilarating in the role. He plays Lady Bracknell perfectly straight. There’s not the slightest hint of travesty in his performance, nor is there any obvious striving for effect. No shrillness. No gimmickry. No exaggeration. He exudes authority via voice and face and glittering eyes. …Time and time again, Rush strikes certain syllables in certain words (morbid, shocked, posture) with the tiniest of poetic downbeats. It has a weirdly telekinetic effect. Rush could quell an uprising, perhaps literally, with his voice.”

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