The enduring popularity of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of manners is both a pleasure and a pitfall: its quotes and quips have become part of our language, its characters endlessly reinterpreted or recalled, on stage, television and film.

Director Leigh Ward’s production concentrates on the satire underlying the camp nonsense with two emphatically determined young women who hurl away the idea of prissy innocents with both hands.

Kitty Fox Davis is superb as a Gwendolen far more brazenly seductive than usual, matched by the resourceful Cecily of Bryony Cook.

Echoes of Edith Evans ring through the commanding presence of Patti Griffiths, whose volte face confronted with the possibility of a fortune is just delicious.

Steven Adams as Moncrieff, beautifully dressed and sufficiently suave, impersonates our Oscar with some of the best lines in the play; although both Ernests relax as the story unfolds, Myles Locke retains a perfect, slightly stiff naivete.

Caroline Lambe’s pursuit of Gerry Wicks is completely hilarious, both actors playing up to the absurdity of an old maid’s requited passion for an unappealing clergyman for all it's worth.

Manservant Lane didn’t have many lines, but Neil Drew made every single one count.

The Importance Of Being Earnest, with the same cast, also runs from July 21 to July 24 at Brighton Open Air Theatre​ in Dyke Road Park.