OSCAR Wilde’s sharp-witted farce The Importance of Being Earnest will be brought to life by Maskers Theatre Company with the stunning backdrop of Hamptworth Lodge and gardens next week.

This quintessential comedy mercilessly pokes fun of the petty snobbery and gullibility of the idle rich.

Maskers offers a fresh interpretation with sumptuous costumes, highlighting the ludicrous decadence of the Victorian middle classes.

Jack and Algernon are eligible bachelors with imaginary pals whom they “visit” whenever they wish to get away from their real lives. Both claim to be called Ernest to different people in different locations and chaos ensues when their worlds collide.

Join these two misfits on their tangled quest for love. Will they get the girls, or be thwarted by the fearsome Lady Bracknell? Watch as a genteel tea party soon degenerates into a war of manners and takes the audience on a hilarious roller coaster ride of deception and misunderstandings.

The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde’s best known and most successful play. Hamptworth Lodge sits on the edge of the New Forest between Romsey and Salisbury and the audience is able to arrive early and picnic in the stunning grounds.

The Importance of Being Earnest opens on Wednesday, July 16 and runs until Saturday, July 26.

Tickets at £10 to £15 are available through Ticket South at ticketsouth.co.uk or on 02380 711818.