(Charles Spencer’s article appeared 10/10 in the Telegraph.)

The Rose took a bad knock this year when it was turned down for Arts Council funding, but it has responded in the best possible way by staging an outstanding production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

It’s an apt work for this threatened theatre, for Wilde was in serious trouble when he wrote it, besieged by blackmailing rent boys, suffering agonies with the worthless Bosie, and conscious that disaster could overwhelm him at any moment. Instead of wallowing in misery, he wrote a play of delicious style and frivolity, memorably described by Wilde’s biographer Richard Ellmann as “a wonderful parapet over the abyss of the author’s disquietude and apprehension”.


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