By Evelyn Waugh
Adapted by Bryony Lavery
Tue 7 – Sat 11 Jun
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
A delightful play bringing back memories for many of the TV series first shown in the early 1980’s and set in Castle Howard, that huge 18th century baroc pile in North Yorkshire first visited by author Evelyn Waugh in 1937.
The play starts with Charles Ryder (Brian Ferguson) taking a trip down memory lane when he visits Castle Howard during WWII and he reminisces about his earlier visits.
Years earlier he’d meet at Oxford University Sebastian Flyte (Christopher Simpson), younger son of Lord and Lady Marchmain. Sebastian walks around in a drunken stupor clutching his teddy bear. Unable to handle the pressures of being idle rich, and his mother, he flees abroad eventually becoming holed up in Tangier.
Back at Brideshead Charles Ryder, now a firm family friend of the Marchmains’ discovers their delightful eccentricities. Lord Marchmain (Paul Shelley) is living in sin in Venice leaving Lady Marchmain (Caroline Harker) to rule the roost back home.
Oldest son Bridey Flyte (Shuna Snow) walks with a stoop and collects matchbox covers.
Julia Flyte (Rosie Hilal) gives a sterling performance as Sebastian and Bridey’s sister. She marries a Canadian then lives in sin with Charles Ryder.
An undercurrent of Catholicism runs through the play opening with a black cross on a red background and mention of how Castle Howard had its own Catholic chapel.
Towards the end when Lord Marchmain comes home to die Waugh displays his agnostic views on the paucity of religion. Julia informs Ryder that she cannot live in sin any longer and they must say goodbye.
This play is divided into two parts of approximately one hour each with a twenty minute interval in between. Written by Bryony Lavery and directed by Damian Cruden it goes along at a reasonable pace. The second half was more sombre with its religious undercurrents and the approach of WWII.
Good value for money all the same.
The first ever large scale stage production of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, adapted by Bryony Lavery, visits Theatre Royal Brighton this summer in the 50th anniversary year of Waugh’s death.
It’s 1943 and, finding himself in familiar territory within the English countryside, Charles Ryder confronts memories of his first youthful encounter with Brideshead Castle and its assortment of eccentric inhabitants.
In acclaimed playwright Bryony Lavery’s sparkling new reimagining of the classic novel, the past and the present blur as Charles recalls those heady days at Brideshead and Lord and Lady Marchmain, along with their offspring, Julia, Cordelia, Bridey and Sebastian Flyte re-emerge…
Bryony Lavery previously collaborated with English Touring Theatre on her play Thursday in 2013. Her recent work includes an adaptation of Treasure Island for the National Theatre and a new play Queen Coal which ran at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in 2014.
Her other plays include Frozen, The Believers, Beautiful Burnout, Last Easter, Stockholm, Yikes, A Wedding Story, Ophelia, Nothing Compares To You and Flight.
Damian Cruden directs Christopher Simpson as Sebastian, Brian Ferguson as Charles and Rosie Hilal as Julia. Nick Blakeley, Caroline Harker, Samantha Lawson, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Paul Shelley and Shuna Snow complete the company.
0844 871 7650***
(bkg fees apply)