Theatre News

Director steps into lead role in Barn Theatre's The Importance of Being Earnest at last minute

Bryan Hodgson saved the day in a production that will transfer to London this spring

Bryan Hodgson and Aidan Harkins
Bryan Hodgson and Aidan Harkins
© Benjamin Collins

The director of The Importance of Being Earnest stepped into his own production at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester last night.

Bryan Hodgson had to rush to Cirencester to play the lead role of Graham de Hare when actor Ryan Bennett was unable to perform on 13 February. Hodgson made his debut after just a few hours of rehearsals, which saw him playing Lady Bracknell, Cecily Cardew and the title character Earnest alongside actor Aidan Harkins.

This reimagined version of the Oscar Wilde play follows stage manager Kevin McKinnon and producer de Hare as they are forced to step into an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest when their cast have not arrived.

Hodgson commented on the event: "Yesterday was the most surreal time I've ever had! The entire company were so supportive, and got me through it with smiles and hugs. The actual show was a hoot – especially being able to actually present the concept of the show in real life – someone having to step into the show about someone having to step into the show with only a moments notice. Art imitating life, or life imitating art?

"My favourite moment was the sass that seemed to just burst out of me in the Cecily and Gwendolen scene – I mean, it got vicious – there must be a terrifying diva inside me somewhere that's clawing to get out! The whole thing was such fun, and I've now slept for twelve hours with lots of muscles aching, but it was worth it. And to finally quote Elaine Stritch; I wore my own shoes!"

Hodgson will reprise the role again this evening in the show, which runs until 15 February before transferring to the Turbine Theatre from 19 to 29 February.