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Summary

Algernon Moncrieff, a bachelor-about-town, has invented an invalid friend called Bunbury in order to get out of tiresome family engagements. At the same time, his friend Jack Worthing has invented a wicked brother called Ernest to disguise his own misdemeanours. When Algernon poses as Ernest to win the heart of Cecily Cardew, confusion reigns, and it takes the discovery of an old black handbag to reveal the truth...

Oscar Wilde's dazzling comedy about mistaken identities and secret engagements still delights audiences over a century after its first performance in 1895. This BBC Radio production, first broadcast in 1977, features Jeremy Clyde as Algernon, Richard Pasco as Worthing, Prunella Scales as Cecily and Maurice Denham as the Rev. 'Canon Chasuble' is the first broadcast of the original four-act version of the play.

"The Classic Radio Theatre" range presents notable radio productions of much-loved plays by some of the most renowned playwrights, and starring some of our finest actors.

Public Domain (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What listeners say about Classic Radio Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised)

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Absolutely loved it, I've listened to this 3 times

it was such a brilliant story, "a perfectly trivial comedy for perfectly serious people."
a great help with my a level studies, helps me get more familiar with the characters and hear how they're supposed to speak the text in the play.
Brilliant stuff!!

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Trivial comedy at its best

One of my favourite plays; the story is of course brilliantly written and the dialogue is full of wit and linguistical acrobatics. The tale is hilariously awkward and follows Earnest and Algie trying to lie their way out of every mishap.
This 1977 performance is well cast and produced. Lady Bracknell's pithy put-downs are especially well delivered.
Would definitely recommend.

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Tremendous

Oscar Wilde at his very best. A simply wonderful story, dramatised to perfection. Highly recommended.

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Brought to Life Vividly

An excellent performance of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy

Sharp, funny satire and an excellent look back to an age gone by.

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  • Carole T.
  • 18-01-13

The Extended Version - A Real Treat

Just want to say that this is a rare, uncut version of the play. Audible's other "Earnest" titles are of the abbreviated text usually performed. It's a real pleasure to hear Wilde's very witty lines - and a whole scene - which are routinely cut from productions.

If you already know "The Importance of Being Earnest" or other of Wilde's very funny plays, you'll be aware that the plot is pure fluff and silliness. I mean that in the very best way: Monty Python and P.G Wodehouse (What Ho, Jeeves!) owe a debt to Oscar Wilde.

This is obviously an older recording, but the sound is quite good. The performers are wonderful, tho perhaps less well-known that those on other versions. I enjoyed this thoroughly!

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  • SJN
  • 02-06-16

I loved it

Oscar Wilde meets a fabulous cast; you can't go wrong! Witty, well-done, & worthwhile, I loved it.

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  • Charity Winters
  • 04-01-18

Still wildly laughing after all these years.

Would you consider the audio edition of Classic Radio Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised) to be better than the print version?

Yes, I listened to the performance while reading the work and the performance added another dimension to the work.

What did you like best about this story?

This is a relevant story.

Any additional comments?

I used this performance to study for a graduate level literature exam and did very well on the exam. I recommend this as a study resource.

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  • Idaho Britta
  • 14-10-21

Great performance!

The actors did a fantastic job in every way! My high school senior was required to read it for our homeschool and I always follow along with the books. This one was a delight and he enjoyed the humor as well, especially being fond of Algernon.

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  • Jessie
  • 04-12-18

charming

what a wonderful play. Wilde ingeniously criticizes Victorian standards in such a way that one would have been delightfully charmed to be critiqued.

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  • Sue Smith
  • 13-10-18

Best audio version

Directed and acted with real genius and verve, and amusing sound effects. The dialogue appropriately runs at a fast clip. I've read, heard, or seen this play at least 20 times but this BBC version still made me laugh and revealed hidden jokes and parallel actions. I listened to nearly all the Audible samples of this play and found this one the most accomplished.