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Publisher's Summary

Here is the BBC radio drama centenary production of Oscar Wilde's classic play, starring Judi Dench, Miriam Margoyles, and Martin Clunes.

Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.

© and (P)1995 BBC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • S
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 11-10-09

Wonderfully entertaining ear-candy

One of my favourites by Oscar Wilde... Is it possible to "hear" an arched eyebrow? Dame Judi Dench is infallible as Lady Bracknell: "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." I never get tired of this!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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To be born, or at any rate bred, in a handbag...

Agree strongly with one previous reviewer: This is total ear-candy, the best recorded version available, and my go-to Audible selection whenever I need a laugh. The entire cast is superb, with both lead males and both lead females quite surprisingly rising to meet the standard set by none other than Grand Dame Judi Dench in the role she was born to play, the formidable Lady Bracknell. Enjoy!

To the previous reviewer who complained that this is some sort of edited or abridged version: If so, the edits were so minor as to escape notice by two college English professors who have studied (and written essays about) Wilde and this play--which remains, in this version, the funniest play ever written. Buy it now; you won't be sorry!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Perfection

This is the easiest review I've ever written.

If you're going to read The Importance of Being Earnest this is the copy you want. The performance is incredibly delightful & there is no way you'll have the same experience simply reading the text. I have read the text & loved it but there really is no comparison. Short of seeing it performed at the theatre this is it.

The story itself is a hilarious "romp", it keeps your attention 100% and is wonderfully amusing.

I'm already looking forward to listening to this performance again.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Abridged!!!

Would you recommend The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised) to your friends? Why or why not?

I would only recommend this audiobook to someone who is interested in Oscar Wilde but incapable of grasping Victorian vernacular. Not only is this version abridged, words are rewritten to make it easier to understand for a twenty-first century American audience. Insulting. Part of the fun of reading, listening, seeing a play by Oscar Wilde is his wit with words. Changing them because someone might not understand undermines his work.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Some of the lines are emphasized incorrectly according to the script. Some of the actors are too old for their parts. Algy and Jack are performed superbly, as is Miss Prism and Cecily.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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True laugh-out-loud material

One of the funniest plays ever written, performed by an incredible cast. This really did make me laugh out loud.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Telfair
  • Shepherdstown, WV, United States
  • 06-26-12

Funny and Classic

This is my preferred Audio version of "Importance". The cast is wonderful and, as usual, the BBC presents a performance to remember. Much fun!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Hysterical and preposterous ...great fun!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised) to be better than the print version?

Having enjoyed both, I do prefer the audible version with the different voices, it brings the story to life!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gwendoline is fabulously cheeky and ever so witty!

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

Life and humour and fun!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh out loud, several times! Whilst the premise is ridiculous the playing out of the story is marvellous and the actors and great!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Meg
  • San Angelo, TX, USA
  • 04-16-09

So wonderful!

Well narrated and hilarious play; a great listen!

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • irish
  • Prescott, AZ USA
  • 10-16-17

More Please!

I loved this and have listened twice in 2 weeks . More plays please.

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Fun listen

This book was enjoyable and funny. Rather a dry wit but made me smile throughout the book. Would recommend it who enjoys humorous banter.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • William Carse-Austen
  • 03-21-17

Wonderfully Written Wordsmithery

If you could sum up The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised) in three words, what would they be?

Witty, eloquent, ludicrous.

What did you like best about this story?

Wilde's ways with words and his ability to create the absurd.

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

Timing and approach.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Earnestly, Important.

Any additional comments?

A must listen for any genuine English literature fan.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-05-17

so funny

Oscar Wilde is such a fantastic and witty play write. I had to read The Importance of Being Earnest for a university assignment and I'm so glad I did. loved it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brooksies
  • 04-27-14

I could never marry a man called Earnest!

What made the experience of listening to The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised) the most enjoyable?

I have to admit I did not know the story yet (I know, shamefull) but I've been steadily updating my classic repertoire. I did not expect it to be sooooo so funny!

What did you like best about this story?

Everything, the satire from the story, the clever twists, the originality and definitly the great performance by Judi Dench and Martin Clunes especially.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

The two men, Algernon and Jack/John (both of the Earnests) because they are both so clueless!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitly, it was just so enjoyable! I am looking out for more Oscar Wilde stories now. And will certainly listen to this book again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • 07-29-16

The Importance of Being Earnest

The book did not into dice the characters well at the beginning of the book, which made it difficult at times to follow the relationships between the characters. This was clearly intentional as the relationships all became clear in the last chapter. However, unless my understanding is completely wrong Earnest would have been engaged to his first cousin, sister to Alginon. The performances were outstanding. I now have it in mind to see this story played out on stage. Any reader who enjoyed Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing will enjoy this book.

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