Octagon Theatre Bolton and Derby Theatre are presenting a 60th anniversary production of Look Back in Anger, John Osborne’s ground-breaking classic, which erupted onto the scene and changed the face of British theatre in the mid-1950s, placing on stage the voice of the ‘Angry Young Man’. Relentlessly tackling the topics of sex, class, religion, politics, and the press, Look Back in Anger presented its audiences with an England never before seen on stage.
Originally described as ‘intense, angry, feverish, undisciplined’, the anniversary production is directed by Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Sarah Brigham and opened in Derby earlier this month. It will transfer to the Octagon stage on 7 April.
Playing the central role of Jimmy Porter is Patrick Knowles (Saturday Night Sunday Morning and The Grapes of Wrath, Mercury Theatre Colchester; A Streetcar Named Desire, the Curve in Leicester; Casualty, Doctors, Holby City and Murder on the Home Front). Joining Patrick, in the role of Alison, is Augustina Seymour (It’s a Wonderful Life, Seabright Productions; Playing for Time, Sheffield Crucible; Happiness, Theatre503). Making her professional debut on stage is Daisy Badger (Pip Archer in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, and Claire Hillman in ITV’s Home Fires), playing Helena. Jimmy Fairhurst (Brassed Off and Kes, Derby Theatre; Topsy and Tim, Doctors, The Royals) and Ivan Stott (actor and composer) complete the cast as Cliff and Colonel Redfern, respectively.
It’s 1956, and in a cramped flat in Derby, Jimmy Porter is angry, bored, and frustrated with the limitations of life and increasing political decay. He finds release for his pent-up emotions by attacking his upper-class wife Alison, whose loyalty to her husband is seemingly at odds with his cruelty towards her. The couple’s close friend Cliff provides the sounding board that they both so desperately need to gain perspective on their tragic, co-dependent relationship, but an unwanted pregnancy and the arrival of a glamorous actress take the couple into a love triangle which questions the very foundations of how they live.
Sarah Brigham commented about the production “I am incredibly excited to be directing Look Back in Anger for our spring 2016 season, and for it to then continue its run at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. The play changed the face of British Theatre back in the 50s by putting working class voices centre stage and I am keen to get my teeth into this iconic and influential work to discover what impact our version may offer our audiences today.
We have assembled a truly magnificent cast, all exciting, young actors in their own right and I am confident that their combined performances will result in a compelling night out of searing drama.” Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre followed “We are thrilled to be producing Look Back in Anger with Derby Theatre. It’s one of my all-time favourite plays and is powerful and witty in equal measure; Jimmy Porter, our extraordinary protagonist, demands we join him in his struggle with society and, in the end, the ultimate battle with himself. I’m thrilled Sarah is directing this poignant drama for our Bolton audiences.”
Look Back In Anger performance dates and times:
Thursday 7 – Sat 30 April 2016
5pm performance: Mon 18 Apr
2pm Matinees: Sat 16, Sat 23, Wed 27 Apr
Special Diary Dates
Bargain Nights: Thu 7, Fri 8 & Mon 11 Apr (tickets £17.50 – £10.50)
Meet the Director and cast: Fri 8 Apr (free, post-show)
Audio Described: Thu 14 Apr, 7:30pm
BSL: Wed 20 Apr, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 28 Apr, 7:30pm
Visit www.octagonbolton.co.uk for full performance listings and to book tickets