If you think you know Oscar Wilde’s play ‘The Importance of Being…Earnest’, then think again.

A re-imagining of the classic farce is coming to the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield – and audience members can take part.

“Hilarious, irreverent and magical” are the three words creative director Simon Paris uses to describe this unique production.

In a nutshell, the show opens to looming disaster; the actor playing Ernest fails to arrive on cue and in a monumental effort to ‘save the show’, a real audience member is quickly cast in the lead role.

This impetuous recasting sets off a hilarious chain of events that, one-by-one, renders the rest of the cast unable to continue their performances, leading to more and more audience members being brought into the spotlight.

Simon said: “Our version of ‘Earnest’ is very different in that we are presenting a traditional take of the play until the lead actor playing Ernest Worthing fails to arrive.

“The director then casts a real audience member, gets them into a microphone and costume and they play Ernest for the whole show.

“Throughout the show, the rest of the cast drop out one by one and are all replaced with audience members. It is completely as mad as it sounds!”

Simon said there’s always something weird and wonderful and every show is different.

“Audience members generally read what’s on the script – if they have any script at all,” he said. “And if not, the cast are incredibly gifted at accepting and embracing the wonderful curveballs that the audience members often throw at them.

“We don’t particularly have an exact show we are trying to recreate every night, rather, we offer audience members opportunities to shine and when they do, it feels like real magic is created.”

Audience members don’t have to get up on stage if they don’t want to, of course, and Simon says it’s just as fun to watch as it is to take part.

The show is on Wednesday June 5 (7.30pm) and tickets at £10-£20 can be booked on the Lawrence Batley Theatre website HERE.


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