On Radio 4: South Downs

South Downs, the David Hare play commissioned by Chichester Festival Theatre to accompany a revival of Rattigan’s The Browning Version, was yesterday adapted for Radio 4’s Saturday Drama slot, with the original stage cast giving their all.

Nicholas Farrell and Anna Chancellor lend their names and reputations to the production, but it’s the young cast who make it shine: most particularly Alex Lawther as Blakemore. It’s astonishing that this is his first professional role, but I’m sure it won’t be his last.

Listen to the play on the Radio 4 website, and read my review from when the double bill transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre. You can also view my photos from the press night party.

South Downs/The Browning Version press night party

I didn’t get to see South Downs/The Browning Version on Tuesday, which was press night – we went on Wednesday instead – but I was there at the party afterwards to take photos for The Stage, a selection of which are below.

The slideshow requires Flash: to see the full set of photos, you can also visit my Flickr pages.

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South Downs/The Browning Version, Harold Pinter Theatre

Editor’s Rating
South Downs stars Alex Lawther (Blakemore) and Jonathan Bailey (Duffield)

Originally staged at Chichester Festival Theatre, this double bill saw one of Terrence Rattigan’s most enduring plays, the one-act The Browning Version, revived as part of the tributes to the playwright’s centenary year (cf. revivals of Cause Celebre, Flare Path, etc.

Rather than pairing it with Harlequinade, the other Rattigan one-act play it had originally been played with, though, CFT prefaced the play with a new, companion piece from contemporary playwright David Hare. South Downs, like The Browning Version, is set within the walls of an English public school. Change is similarly encroaching: in Hare’s story, it is of the forthcoming Wilson government and the socio-economic change from the white heat of technology, whereas the world outside Rattigan’s school is still embroiled in war.

The two pieces complement each other extremely well – far more than I would have expected, and I suspect far better than a revival of Harlequinade could do.

Continue reading “South Downs/The Browning Version, Harold Pinter Theatre”

South Downs/The Browning Version, Harold Pinter Theatre5Scott Matthewman2012-04-29 17:36:24
South Downs stars Alex Lawther (Blakemore) and Jonathan Bailey (Duffield)