This is one of the great recordings of a great play. John Gielgud stars as Earnest and Edith Evans gives her indomitable performance as Lady Bracknell in this classic radio recording from 1951.
Performance styles may have changed, but this is an unmatched production bearing all the hallmarks of outstanding audio drama featuring some of the finest actors of the 20th century.
Also included are two collections of poetry readings by John Gielgud and Edith Evans.
"Oscar Wilde's most famous and - posthumously - successful play." (The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde)
With this play, which premiered in 1895, Oscar Wilde established a uniquely British style of verbal stage humor. One could say with justification that it is one of the funniest plays in the English language. Or, because plays are (in a sense) rewritten every time they're performed, potentially so. The archival radio production heard here realizes that potential in spades. A young John Gielgud takes the lead, while Dame Edith Evans steals the show as the imperious Lady Bracknell, a role for which she was famous in her lifetime. That today's American listeners won't recognize the names of the other cast members doesn't mean they're any less capable. The entire ensemble shines. The timing! The gusto! The sense of fun!
This is the one you want
This is an impossible play to perform because it is perfectly and shatteringly meaningless. The humour is dry and yet the tone is joyous. It one of the funniest things every written by a human being. This cast pulls off the impossible. Edith Evans is a sort of personality-tank. Truly frightfully good. And this recording is the only place you will find this cast. Forget the movies and other productions. This is the one you want.
such poor sound i can't enjoy, what I know to be, a classic play.