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Ncuti Gatwa cast in National Theatre production of The Importance of Being Earnest

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Ncuti Gatwa cast in National Theatre production of The Importance of Being Earnest

‘More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read’ … Ncuti Gatwa. Photograph: Ian West/PA

‘More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read’ … Ncuti Gatwa. Photograph: Ian West/PA© Photograph: Ian West/PA

Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa is to make his debut at the National Theatre in London in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Gatwa will play hedonistic bachelor Algernon Moncrieff in Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people” this winter. It marks his first major role in a theatre production since coming to fame on Netflix’s Sex Education and being cast as the 15th Doctor in the BBC’s science-fiction series.

Born in Rwanda, Gatwa grew up in Scotland. He graduated in acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and started his career with half a dozen productions at Dundee Rep including The BFG and Victoria in 2013. Last year he performed a scene from Romeo and Juliet, opposite My Neighbour Totoro’s Mei Mac, for King Charles’s Coronation Concert. His other stage productions have included A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Shakespeare’s Globe, directed by Emma Rice in 2016, and The Rivals at the Watermill in Newbury, directed by Jonathan Humphreys in 2018.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be directed by Max Webster whose recent productions include Macbeth starring another Time Lord, David Tennant, at the Donmar Warehouse. That show, which uses binaural sound technology and co-stars Cush Jumbo, recently announced a West End return for October.

The Importance of Being Earnest will star Amanda Lawrence as Miss Prism, Hugh Skinner as Jack Worthing and Richard Cant as Reverend Canon Chasuble. Three-time Olivier award winner Sharon D Clarke, who played Grace O’Brien in Doctor Who during series 11 and 12, will be given the immortal line “A handbag?” as Lady Bracknell.

Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, described Wilde’s play of friendship, love and false identity as “hilariously subversive” and “one of our greatest comedies”. It will run in the National’s Lyttelton theatre from 20 November to 25 January. A previously announced version of Noel Streatfeild’s novel Ballet Shoes, adapted by Kendall Feaver and directed by Katy Rudd, will play in the Olivier theatre during the National’s festive season.

Story by Chris Wiegand: The Guardian 

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