In August 1894, exactly 120 years ago Oscar Wilde sat down to write his last and most enduringly popular play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. As a mark of its continual appeal, there are five different versions of the play at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. They are…..

1). Ernest; or Much Ado About Muffins (Tales Retold)
A musical, ‘cliché busting’ version of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ that famously omits Lady Bracknell’s ‘handbag’ line. May be the only occasion of a line causing controversy through NOT being said.
C cubed. (until 25 Aug)

2). The Importance of Being Earnest (Gone Rogue Productions)
A straight version of the play ? Not quite. All the male parts are played by women and all the female parts by men. Miss Prism though is played by a member of the audience. Don’t sit too near the front !!
C too. (until 25 Aug)

3). The Importance of Being Earnest (Beath Stage Productions)
Beath Stage Productions came closest to a traditional version of the play with this (albeit time reduced) version.
theSpace on the Mile. (finished 16 Aug)

4). The Importance of Being Earnest Performed by Three F***ing Queens and a Duck (Out Cast Productions)
Camp, bitchy and outrageous – ‘Carry on Ernest’. It shows the build up and rehearsal as well as the play itself. (until 23 Aug)

4). Bunbury is Dead (Tobacco Tea Company)
Not really ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ but a ‘new’ Oscar Wilde play whioch combines material from other Oscar Wilde’s works. Sort of a ‘Greatest Hits’ package.
Café Camino. (until 23 Aug)

So whether you want a new version, an old version, one with music or without, you’ll find that there’s a version for you to help you celebrate the anniversary of this great play.

Submitted by Jack Ellis