Following its sell-out run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, To Hell in a Handbag: The Secret Lives of Canon Chasuble and Miss Prism, written and performed by Helen Norton and Jonathan White will embark on its first UK tour in November 2018.

Hailed by the Observer as a ’comic gem‘ and ’a hoot of an instant classic‘, the play’s action runs in parallel to Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and follows two of that play’s minor characters – a country rector and a governess – as their lives of Victorian propriety unravel in a tale of blackmail, embezzlement and false identity, a subversively funny new take on an Irish comedy classic.

The production received four- and five-star reviews in Edinburgh and subsequently toured all over Ireland. The Sunday Independent called it ‘Wickedly, side-splittingly funny, in a sophisticated, witty and elegant way… a joyous romp not to be missed, a worthy homage to its master and progenitor‘. The Mail on Sunday said ’To Hell in a Handbag is a delight – beautifully written and acted with exquisite comic timing.’

This tour will also bring the play back to the heart of its own origins. One of the venue stops on the way – Worthing – was the place where Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest and indeed he incorporated it into his story. His leading character was  famously found in a handbag as a baby, and given the name Worthing because his benefactor had a ticket for that Sussex seaside resort in his pocket.

The tour is co-presented with house, touring to its venue network and generously supported by Culture Ireland as part of their GB18 initiative.

Venues and dates

GRAVESEND The Woodville – Tuesday 6 November

HEDGE END The Berry – Thursday 8 November

BRIDPORT Arts Centre – Friday 9 November

WORTHING Connaught Studio – Wednesday 14 November

CANTERBURY The Marlowe Kit – Thursday 15 November

NEW MILTON Forest Arts Centre – Friday 16 November

WALLINGFORD Corn Exchange – Saturday 17 November

FARNHAM Maltings (Great Hall) – Tuesday 20 November

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD Old Town Hall – Wednesday 21 November

COLCHESTER Lakeside – Thursday 22 November

DORCHESTER Arts Centre – Friday 23 November

ISLE OF WIGHT Quay Arts – Saturday 24 November

For more information contact, or the individual venues


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