Ncuti Gatwa to make National Theatre debut in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa is set to appear in a National Theatre adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Former Sex Education actor Gatwa might be preoccupied with all things Doctor Who right now, considering the new season begins in just a couple of weeks’ time, but he’s just secured a role as the rich-yet-listless bachelor Algernon Moncrieff in the Oscar Wilde comedy.

The Importance of Being Earnest opens at the National Theatre, London, on 20 November and run until 25 January 2025. 

Gatwa will feature alongside The Witcher and Fleabag star Hugh Skinner, who will play the show’s lead, Jack Worthing – a seemingly respectable man with strong morals, who actually leads a double life.

The cast also includes Red, White & Royal Blue‘s Sharon D Clarke as Lady Bracknell, Star Wars actress Amanda Lawrence as Miss Prism, and It’s A Sin and My Policeman‘s Richard Cant as Canon Frederick Chasuble.

Actors in other leading parts in the play, including the two main love interests, Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax, are yet to be announced.

Oscar Wilde’s play was a success but also led to his tragic downfall. (Getty/Envato)

Olivier and Tony-Award-winning Max Webster, possibly best known for his stage adaptation of novel Life of Pi, will direct the play.

The Importance of Being Earnest, first performed in 1895, is often regarded as the most notable play by gay playwright Wilde, but it also marked the beginning of the demise of his career.

After its debut, The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son Lord Alfred Douglas – aka Bosie – was Wilde’s lover at the time, planned to disrupt the show by handing the playwright a bouquet of rotten vegetables.

Wilde sued the marquess for libel, but the trial unearthed evidence of the writer’s homosexuality, and he was imprisoned for gross indecency.

Ncuti Gatwa is set to appear on the London stage in The Importance of Being Earnest. (BBC/Bad Wolf)

Even before the new season of the hit sci-fi has begun, returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has teased “good stuff” to come next year.

The first two episodes of the new seaso will drop on BBC iPlayer early on the morning of Saturday 11 May ahead of airing on BBC later that day.

Tickets for The Importance of Being Earnest are available from 23 May.

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