THE stage is being set for one of the greatest comedies ever written.

Rehearsals are underway for the Octagon’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest which opens at the Albert Halls next month — and according to the cast a finer venue for the Victorian play would be hard to find.

Jack Hardwick, who plays the debonair Algernon Moncrieff said: “The Albert Halls is a brilliant setting, a Victorian Hall for a Victorian play. We are using the whole hall, so the organ will be on display the doors will be on display, “It will make it for a grand setting for a grand play.”

Co-star Sarah added: “It is really nice space walking through those doors. It’s a Victorian play in a Victorian hall I think that is something too and that has a kind of historical value.”

Jack added: “I’m playing Algernon. He’s incredibly laid back and debonair and stylish and funny so I jumped at the chance. to play someone so stylish!”

The Importance of Being Earnest is heralded as one of the funniest plays ever written and has delighted audiences for over 100 years with the film version starring Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and Dame Judi Dench, as Lady Bracknell. And Sarah Ball steps in to the shoes of the formidable Lady Bracknell as she makes her Octagon debut.

“It is such an iconic role, you couldn’t never turn it down, it’s just the part to play,” she said, “My immediate thought was I’m far too young and beautiful to play an old bag, how can that possibly happen,It’s good fun and I have two costumes which are absolutely amazing.”

The play is a Victorian satire on social obligations featuring three very strong female characters. — and the classic period comedy drama remains one of Wilde’s most popular works.

“There is something timeless in Oscar Wilde’s wit, it is a very considered wit, I think nowadays comedy can be a bit more throwaway,” said Sara. “I think it also has to do with he way people spoke in those days, considered what they were saying, the language was much more flowery.”

She added: “I think it stands out today just as well as it would have stood out then, maybe even better actually.”

Sarah said: “It is about relationships and I think everybody can relate to it.

“”It’s about love, it’s very light hearted, very bubbly and very much fun”

Director Suba Das said: “It’s that kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s one of the greatest comedies every written. “It’s a dream for a director to stick your teeth into. One of the most incredible things about this play is there is three central female characters.

”Despite the fact that this play is over a 100 years old they seem so modern”.”

The play opens on Thursday, June 6 and runs until Saturday June 15. And said Jack the audience could expect a “fun, stylish, fast paced night out”.