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The Importance of Being Earnest | [Oscar Wilde]

The Importance of Being Earnest

This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence." Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.
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Publisher's Summary

This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, "that name which inspires absolute confidence."

Wilde's effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

©2009 L.A. Theatre Works; (P)2009 L.A. Theatre Works

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (650 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-10-14
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-10-14 Member Since 2013

    Rob Thomas

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    "The inspiration for much that followed."

    It was interesting to finally hear this play. You can see almost at once how this story profoundly affected the next fifty years or so of British books, movies, and television.

    I though it was the Monty Python crew who had invented that zany kind of comedy. Now, I'd say they just updated and perfected what they learned from this play.

    And that too-clever and insanely fast banter of old British movies? Yup, it seems to come from this play as well.

    The play is a bit dated now, of course, but was still funny and very fascinating to listen to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 06-17-12
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 06-17-12 Member Since 2006

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

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    "Wanted to Love It!"

    I love "The Importance of Being Earnest" and have seen and heard a number of productions. Being also a fan of James Marsters, I bought this with great anticipation. It's respectable, but it was ruined for me by the actor (yes, actor!) playing Lady Bracknell. One of the great female parts in the theater, Lady Bracknell deserves more than just the novelty of being played by a man. No objection in this of all plays to gender-bending, but it just didn't work in this case. See if you can find "The Importance of Being Earnest" from BBC, with Joan Plowright in the role.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    satya 09-10-14
    satya 09-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "That was amazing"

    I did not know it was that funny. The performance, the story the wit, everything about this production is great. Just buy it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Antelope Valley, CA, United States 09-09-14
    Diana Antelope Valley, CA, United States 09-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Enjoyable - especially liked discussion afterward"

    This was fun to listen to, but what was great too was the discussion afterward with the Professor of Theater who discussed Oscar Wilde, his work, his life, and how this play fit with society and people's ideas in that era.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eleanor 08-12-14
    Eleanor 08-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Well acted and very funny!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Importance of Being Earnest the most enjoyable?

    The actors were wonderful, especially James Marsters! I could really imagine myself in that theater.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hearing it acted out makes it so much funnier. While it is very funny to read there is something spectacular about hearing it acted out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandra r whiting 07-31-14 Member Since 2013
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    "boring"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I found this hard to listen too. Which surprised me because of course I know that Oscar Wilde is a huge artist.......Oh well to each is own I guess


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Belle Australia 07-26-14
    Belle Australia 07-26-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Delightful"
    Any additional comments?

    Although I've seen the movie, I'd never read - or listened to - the original play, so I was excited when I came across this audiobook performance on Audible. It didn't disappoint. I loved the story of mistaken identities, long-lost family and rich people's shenanigans, and the characters were all charming and endearing in their own way. The language is obviously gorgeous and witty, and it was brilliantly delivered by the actors in this edition. It all flowed really well and was just a delight to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 06-18-14
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 06-18-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Entertaining Play"

    I enjoyed the way this was presented on Audible; it included the audience laughing and the applause, and the various actors narrating the characters made me feel like I was at the play. As far as the content of the play, I thought it was excellent. I liked the story line and laughed throughout. I thought this was highly entertaining and well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 05-24-14
    Anthony Old Bridge, NJ, United States 05-24-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Meh"
    What disappointed you about The Importance of Being Earnest?

    It was just silly, which i get is its intention and there are finer artistic notes and use of language and pun to make thoughtful remarks on the society of its time. But generally, i think this work would be better appreciated in print.


    What was most disappointing about Oscar Wilde’s story?

    It was slap-stick- that's not really disappointing because i didn't know much about the story before i started it.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    Maybe a different cast, the switching of names back and forth lends itself to multiple narrators. a single narrator would likely have a tough time differentiating between each speaker.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Importance of Being Earnest?

    the proposals


    Any additional comments?

    not really worth the time for me. i guess it could be worthwhile to someone. i was expecting better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dillon TURLOCK, CA, United States 05-23-14
    Dillon TURLOCK, CA, United States 05-23-14 Member Since 2012
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    "I listened to it over and over"
    Any additional comments?

    I always imagined Oscar Wilde as being a very serious writer. However there were several instances in this play were I couldn't breathe because I was laughing to hard. I've made everyone I know listen to it and everyone has thanked me for the experience. I definitely recommend this for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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