Classic Spring has announced that Olivier Award winner Sophie Thompson will play Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at London’s Vaudeville Theatre (20 July to 20 October, press night is 2 August). Directed by Michael Fentiman, the production also stars Jeremy Swift in the role of Reverend Chasuble and Sinéad Matthews as Gwendolyn Fairfax.
The Importance of Being Earnest is the last in a cycle of productions celebrating Wilde, which has included all four of the writer’s major social comedies, a solo performance of De Profundis by Simon Callow, now transferring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a reworking of Wilde’s fairy tales for children presented by Tall Stories, and a musical version of The Selfish Giant, presented in Northampton and London. These productions have been seen by over 120,000 people in the Vaudeville, and 80,000 more on cinema screens.
Director Michael Fentiman is joined by designer Madeleine Girling and costume designer Gabriella Slade.
Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Classic Spring, said:
“We have brought thousands of people new to Wilde, and many new to the West End, into the glittering and liberating confusions of his world. It has also been a massive pleasure to work with so many great actors. It is with delight and excitement that we look forward to this continuing celebration of writer and actors with The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Five-time Olivier Award nominee, Sophie Thompson, won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for Into the Woods (1999). Most recently on stage in Guys and Dolls (Chichester), she is well-known for her film roles, including: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Emma, Gosford Park and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
Jeremy Swift is best-known for his role in Downton Abbey (ITV), playing the butler, Septimus Spratt. His screen credits also include The Durrells (ITV), Gosford Park, Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist, and the Wachowski Brothers’ Jupiter Rising. He will soon be appearing in the much-anticipated film Mary Poppins Returns. His theatre credits include The Railway Children (King’s Cross Theatre), Abigail’s Party (West End) and What the Butler Saw (National Theatre).
Sinéad Matthews is currently at the National Theatre in Absolute Hell. Her recent theatre credits include Ivan van Hove’s Hedda Gabler, Blurred Lines (National Theatre), Pests (Royal Exchange, Royal Court, UK Tour) and The Changeling (Young Vic). Her film credits include Pride and Prejudice, Happy-Go-Lucky and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.