Tom Dixon stars as Algy in The Lawrence Batley Theatre and The Dukes upcoming digital co-production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
Based on the play by Oscar Wilde, the production is written by writer/broadcaster Yasmeen Khan (EastEnders). The full cast is Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge, Wuthering Heights) who will play the title role of Earnest/Jamil, Tom Dixon (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet) as Algy, Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Thin Blue Line) as Ms Begum, Nikki Patel (Trojan Horse, Coronation Street) as Gul, Zoe Iqbal (Finding Fatimah, Ackley Bridge) as Safina and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre) as Miss Prism.
This brand-new adaptation will run from Monday 19 April until Tuesday 4 May and transposes the original narrative of Wilde’s classic comedy to the cobbles and stone walls of the north. The updated narrative follows the story of struggling actor Jamil and rom-com star Algy, who come together in the pursuit of love, being true to yourself and Nando’s. Tickets are on sale here.
You’re playing Algy in The Importance of Being Earnest, what can you tell us about it?
The Importance of Being Earnest is a brilliant farce, that revolves around the mis-use of the fake personae of ‘Earnest’. It’s very silly and pokes fun in a satirical way at upper class Victorian values. Yasmeen Khan has done a marvelous job at writing a very modern adaptation set in the North whilst still keeping in some of the best lines from Wilde’s original script.
Tell us more about how this classic Oscar Wilde play has been modernised?
Well it’s now set on the cobbled streets of Huddersfield, with flatcaps, cups of tea and Nandos references to boot. Algy is a super famous rom-com star and Jamil is a young actor shadowing him, who calls himself Earnest on his video blog.
What does that mean for Algy, how have you adapted the character to suit the new script?
In the original version Algy is a ‘charming’ bachelor, and Yasmeen has done a great job of modernising this by turning him into a smarmy super famous actor. At the start he’s very shallow and disillusioned by fame, but he goes on a big journey of self-discovery throughout the play and starts to remember his roots in t’North.
What’s impressed you most about Yasmeen Khan’s script?
Just like Wilde, Yasmeen has written a play that perfectly weaves together a farcical romp and a witty satire. There’s everything from scatological comedy to knowing nods about everyday racism. Add that to a Northern backdrop and you’ve got yourself a winner as far as I’m concerned!
What’s been the biggest challenge in creating this digital production?
The rehearsal process was all over zoom, which was strange but thankfully we’re all quite used to zoom these days so I suppose that made it a little bit easier to handle. What you lose is a chance to chat, socialise and connect with the creative team and other performers. Finally getting to meet people in person in the theatre for the shoot was very exciting, we laughed a lot and there was a lot of camaraderie.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to watch The Importance of Being Earnest?
Oscar Wilde said ‘Life is too short to be taken seriously,’ following that piece of advice, book yourself a ticket and come and join us for a laugh!
The Importance of Being Earnest starring Tom Dixon streams Monday 19 April until Tuesday 4 May. Tickets are on sale here.