Lyrical liberties with an Earnest twist

October 23, 2013


Ladies, set your knickers to twist. There’s another primarily male production of The Importance of Being Earnest on the way with the plum female parts being given to the less than fair sex. This time its The Lyric Theatre spitting in the eye of hard working actresses by casting Paddy Scully and Richard Orr as Lady Bracknell and Miss Prism, although they have also cast Aaron McCusker (of Shameless fame) as Algernon, so pulses will be racing for a multitude of reasons.

“Because I have been playing Jamie for so long on Shameless it is difficult to get out and do any other work,” he tells me. “So I e-mailed Richard Croxford (artistic director of the Lyric) and told him I wanted to get back on the stage.” Unwilling to audition by phone, and eager to visit his family in Portadown, he traveled to the Lyric to audition for the part, nailing the Queens English required to play Algy and thrilling his old Ma, who’ll get to see him in action for once. “She’s a good Catholic woman, she doesn’t like swearing,” he laughs, “So she doesn’t watch Shameless. She’d prefer for me to be in Downton Abbey. But this is close enough.”

As for the gender switch, we’ll let this one slide. But how about Irish theatres switch it in the opposite direction for a change. Barbara Brennan as King Lear anyone?

Originally published in the Sunday Independent in July 2012

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