An earnest commitment to being true to the original


Since it first graced Victorian stages in the late 1890s, Oscar Wilde’s wildly popular comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, has delighted audiences all over the world, everywhere except Denmark (or at least the original version). Until now, that is. Because from April 17-27, the wit and absurdity is coming to Østerbro courtesy of the Copenhagen Theatre Circle. It’s time to hold on to your handbag, rustle up some cucumber sandwiches and tell Bunbury to come into town for a change, as it’s going to be a raucous couple of weeks.

Wilde’s most popular play follows two fun-loving upper-class gentlemen, Jack and Algernon. While Jack maintains a sombre residence in the country, he skirts off to enjoy a double-life in London under the name Ernest, telling those in the country he is looking after a brother of the same name. Similarly, city-dweller Algernon employs an invented friend, Bunbury, whose unending ailments require frequent ‘visits’ to his home in the country, allowing Algernon to shirk tedious social engagements at home.


It seems that the play’s director, Jens Blegaa, is no stranger to double lives either. Blegaa plays multiple roles himself, both as an actor and as a software developer when he’s not involved in theatre. Copenhagen theatre-goers may know him from his role as The Writer in the CTC’s 2012 production of The Good Doctor, or from earlier productions of The Tiger, The Dresser and The Music Hall. Elsewhere, Blegaa has worked with Copenhagen’s London Toast Theatre for numerous years and also participated in communications training programmes for various companies. 


But while he has starred in approximately 15 productions since his stage debut in 1992, The Importance of Being Earnest marks Blegaa’s first experience as a director. As a Dane who has acted predominantly in English-language productions, Blegaa said the choice for his directorial debut was an obvious one.


“I chose this play because Oscar Wilde’s wit is irresistible to an Anglophile like me,” Blegaa told InOut. “And when I learned that it had apparently never been done by the CTC, I thought it was high time we took a swing at it.” 


While Wilde’s classic work is often adapted to modern times, Blegaa revealed that he has set the play in the Victorian era in which it was first produced in order to preserve its original charm.

“I have taken a traditional approach to it – I don’t see any point in trying to shoehorn smart phones and TVs into the proceedings,” he explained.  “I hope I can help the cast make the characters come alive in three dimensions and bring out the wonderful precision in Wilde’s writing, while keeping the play light and fun.” 


Blegaa isn’t the only CTC veteran whom audiences might recognise. Earnest’s cast includes Claire Clausen, a former contributor for The Copenhagen Post, who will play the socially aware (read: uptight) Lady Bracknell, while Brendan O’Gorman takes the stage as the Reverend Canon Chasuble. The clerical role in Earnest is a departure of sorts for O’Gorman, who last played an ugly stepsister in CTC’s 2011-12 pantomime Cinderella and took the lead role of Rene in ‘Allo ‘Allo in the spring of 2011. 


And let’s not forget Jack or Algernon, brought to life by Aidan O’Shea and Mario Paganini. Paganini was last seen in the CTC panto Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp in January – a performance that prompted one audience member to tell The Copenhagen Post’s reviewer that “just looking at him was enough to make me laugh!”


Often referred to as a ‘trivial comedy for serious people’, Earnest is meant to do just that – an ambition that the CTC fully intends to uphold with their production.

“Wilde wrote Earnest with the express intention of it being sheer entertainment,” Blegaa explained. “And that’s exactly what we’re aiming for!”


The Importance of Being Earnest 

Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2, Cph Ø

starts April 17, ends April 27,performances Tue-Fri 19:30, Sat & Sun 17:00

tickets: 140kr, group tickets:,