Two Gents Productions and Tara Arts will later this month present their co-production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Kudzanayi Chiwawa.

“The Importance of Being Earnest is a good night out at the theatre – quick witted dialogue, over the top posh-ness, mistaken identities, handbags and cucumber sandwiches. Underneath, however, there is also a tense drama about identity, social anxiety and the need to belong. We have chosen to amp up both aspects with only two actors playing all of the parts and tapping into their own experience as migrants and as women to bring a rich, nuanced approach to Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece.” – directors, Tonderai Munyevu and Arne Pohlmeier

The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s classic, witty and laugh out loud comedy of mistaken identities, confusion and cucumber sandwiches. On the surface it’s a light, fluffy jibe at the nonsensicalness of the rich and upper class. At a deeper level, it is also a profound plea for sincerity and caring in the face of adversity.

This new production showcases Oscar Wilde’s play as you have never seen it before. Imagining a thoroughly diverse and integrated English society, two British-African women Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Kudzanayi Chiwawa play all the characters and bring to life this 19th century comedy of manners in an at once mocking and lovingly playful tone. Embracing wild wit, deft humour, role swapping and banter with the audience, they unfurl a riot of love, confusion and high jinks.

Ayesha Casely-Hayford is an actress, voice artist and employment lawyer living and working in London. Born in Battersea, she grew up in Kent and is of Ghanian descent. She has a Diploma in Speech and Drama from London Drama School. Theatre credits include: Where Will We Live? (Southwark Playhouse), We Dance We Work We Sing (Vault Festival and various UK venues) and Adult Child Dead Child (Lost Theatre, London).

Kudzanayi Chiwawa is a Zimbabwean born actress, who graduated from Drama Studio London. She has just finished playing Titania & Hypolita for Honey Tongued Productions take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed at both Dubrovnik’s Midsummer Festival and Bermuda Annual Festival of The Performing Arts

The Importance of Being Earnest from Wednesday 27th February – 16th March, Tara Theatre, 356 Garrett Lane, London SW18 4ES

“I am delighted to welcome Two Gents Productions back to Tara Theatre for what promises to be an unforgettable performance of this well-loved classic. The Importance of Being Earnest is a quintessentially “British” period comedy. To see it presented by two British-African women is just the kind of ground-breaking cheek Oscar Wilde would have relished. Tara Theatre provides a fitting home for this re-invented classic.” – Artistic Director of Tara Arts Jatinder Verma

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