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Dr Adam Perchard - BUNBURYING (The Importance of Being Dr Adam Perchard) Interview

Join scholar and international cabaret star Dr Adam Perchard in a glam rock-fuelled, autobiographical romp through Oscar Wilde’s best-loved comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Photo by Wayne Stewart

Part literary lecture, part rave, part confessional, BUNBURYING brings Wilde’s masterpiece to riotous, troubling new life amongst the glitter and turmoil of our twenty-first-century world. Performing some of Wilde’s most iconic scenes, alongside songs and stories from the Doctor’s own life, Adam reveals Earnest to be a dazzling hall of mirrors – mirrors that reflect our own world just as much as they do the sparkling, decadent nineteenth-century society that Wilde was satirising.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple…

Dancing through Wilde’s vision of a world where no one is quite what they seem, BUNBURYING is a sparkling, kaleidoscopic quest for authenticity in a world that forces all of us – especially queers – to wear masks sometimes.

Ahead of Dr Adam playing their show at legendary cabaret venue Crazy Coqs we caught up with them to discuss the piece in more detail.

Where did the origins for this show begin?
The idea actually first sprang from the visionary director of the Jersey Arts Centre, Daniel Austin.  He wanted to commission me to do a one-person version of The Importance of Being Earnest to mark the Centre’s fortieth anniversary.  Iloved that thought, but also wanted to be able to engage explicitly with the many resonances that Wilde’s masterpiece has for the LGBT+ community today.  And so BUNBURYING was born!  Part Wilde, part me, part live glam-rock spectacular. 
If Aliens crash-landed how would you describe your show to them?
It’s like a camp asteroid in sequins landing on a cake shaped like the British patriarchy! 

Any good? Or perhaps I would tell them that BUNBURYING is a heartwarming snapshot of the lives, loves, and losses of queer people from 1895 to the present day. 

How much research did you have to do into Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earned whilst developing the show?
I had loved Wilde’s writing since I first read his beautiful (and, watch-out readers, COMPLETELY HEARTBREAKING) fairy tales as a child.  I went on to study him and play Lord Goring, the dandified hero of his play An Ideal Husband, when I was at university.  So Wilde had been part of my journey for a long time, just as he is for many of us queers I think – someone I respected and loved as a queer ancestor, but who lived at the far edges of my queerness.  It was only when I reread Earnest that I realised quite how central these issues Wilde was writing about in the nineteenth century still are in 2024.  Wilde doesn’t live in the far-off past, he’s sitting next to you at the bar, babe!  That realisation spurred me to spend a couple of months truffling through his writings and writings about him in more detail, and it was incredible – truly world-expanding. 
How did you approach combining the styles of literary lecture, rave and confessional into the show it has become?
Luckily, my silly, silly life did that for me!  Whilst I was doing my PhD in literature – and, later, lecturing at universities – I was also working as a club kid on the queer East London scene!  I would give a lecture, come home, change into a giant light-up Elizabethan spacewoman costume, and then perform at clubs all weekend.  So the crazy cocktail of styles in this show is actually very familiar to me!  I love it, because it reflects the place that brilliant literature should have in our lives: it’s not just for the library, we should take it with us into the club, the bedroom, the fast-food joint on the corner.  Its alive and flawed and hungry like us. 

Photo by Peanut Factory Studio

What do you think The Importance of Being Earnest says to a modern day audience?
It’s one of the most profoundly wise – and, of course, profoundly silly – plays ever written, I think. It’s a play of masks and mirrors, full of people having to go to absurd lengths to navigate a judgemental society full of old, conservative power structures and prejudice (sound familiar?!).  Today, with fascism on the rise here in the UK and across the world, more and more queer and trans people are having to fight to lead a joyful, authentic life free of masks.  The Importance of Being Earnest makes us laugh, whilst also reminding us to stay defiant: to fight for our own happy endings. 
How do you prepare for a show?
I spend two days in bed reading my lines out loud whilst rhythmically patting my knee. Unhinged, but that’s how I learn! 
If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be and why?
Amazing question. Possibly what my next show should be about. I think I would be one of Fox’s Golden Crunch Creams. Because I am apt to crumble and riddled with cracks, but that’s part of my appeal.  
If you could have dinner with 3 fellow performers who would you choose to invite and why?
Many of my best friends are performers, so I eat with them lots anyway and they don’t count.  I would say: Cher – because, like all right-thinking humans I am obsessed with her; David Bowie – because I probably think about him more than any other artist; and Maria Callas – because I always wanted to be her when I grew up, and I have gone well and truly astray. 
What keeps you inspired?
Nature, dogs, friends, and literature. 
What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing the show?
Fondant fancies, true love, and TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
Where can somebody follow along with your career?
Join me on Instagram, babies!  I’m @dr.adam.perchard there – and, if you like things a little more retro, on Facebook!  I’m also just plain old @AdamPerchard on X.

Tickets for BUNBURYING: The Importance of
Being Adam Perchard at Crazy Coqs on Friday 1st March are available from

Photo by Peanut Factory Studio

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