New twist on comedy classic comes to North Devon

After phenomenally critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe runs, the hugely popular ‘The Importance of Being… Earnest?’ is coming to the Queens Theatre, Barnstaple from Friday, 2 February to Sunday, 4 February 2024.

The play’s debut UK tour has a cast that includes the cream of the crop of UK improv including Lucy Trodd (a founding member of Olivier Award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical), Amy Cooke-Hodgeson, (a founding member of award-winning comedy hit Austentatious, who has starred in multiple UK tours, Edinburgh Fringe runs and on BBC Radio 4’s recording of the show) and Tom Bulpett (who starred in The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre in the West End).

In this riotous twist on a much-loved classic the show opens to looming disaster; the actor playing Ernest in Oscar Wilde’s famed farce fails to arrive on cue. In a monumental effort to ‘save the show’, a real audience member is quickly cast in the lead role.

But 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.

As more audience members are encouraged to step into the spotlight, led backstage for costume and make-up, impromptu auditions, the painting of portraits, the chanting of mantras; doing whatever’s needed to help the show go on, an absurd controlled madness ensues – until it feels as if there are almost as many audience members in the cast as there are in the … audience.

This is a comedic masterpiece of meticulous logistics, meritoriously involved audiences and masterful stage management. The Importance of Being… Earnest? Is an exciting and hilarious experience both to watch and be part of. For more information visit

Local News – The Ilfracombe Magazine