July to September 2012 | July to September Season


by J.B. Priestley

Tuesday, 14 August – Saturday, 8 September 2012


For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here

The first London production in more than 70 years

Time Out Critics' Choice
British Theatre Guide Top 5 Alternative Plays
★★★★★ Five Stars, One Stop Arts
★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian
★★★★ Four Stars, The Telegraph
★★★★ Four Stars, The Independent
★★★★ Four Stars, Sunday Times
★★★★ Four Stars, The Times
★★★★ Four Stars, Evening Standard
★★★★ Four Stars, Time Out
★★★★ Four Stars, WhatsOnStage
★★★★ Four Stars, Everything Theatre
★★★★ Four Stars, The Arts Desk
★★★★ Four Stars, The Public Reviews
★★★★ Four Stars, London Theatreviews
★★★★ Four Stars, Exeunt Magazine
★★★★ Four Stars, The Week
Nominated for four OffWestEnd Awards

"So all the time, while you were pretending to work, you've been having the most astonishing adventures in that corner?"

A forgotten masterpiece from one of Britain's greatest dramatists, J. B. Priestley.    

As bankruptcy looms, the ever-optimistic Jim Cornelius, partner at import firm Briggs and Murrison, is fighting to keep his creditors happy and his spirits up. Tensions rise with the arrival of Judy, the beautiful, young typist who shows Cornelius the life he could have led...  

Written for Ralph Richardson in 1935, Priestley observes the politics and tensions of daily office life with searing wit and humanity in this hilarious and heart-breaking story of friendship, unrequited love and business.  

Director Sam Yates returns to the Finborough Theatre following his sell-out and critically acclaimed production of St John Ervine's Mixed Marriage in 2011.


Director Sam Yates is Associate Artist at Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton, under Laurie Sansom. He trained with directors Michael Grandage, Jamie Lloyd, Trevor Nunn, Josie Rourke and Phyllida Lloyd.

Previous direction for the Finborough Theatre includes Mixed Marriage by St John Ervine, and two plays by Nicholas de Jongh for Vibrant - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights – To Keep the Ghost Awake (2010) and There Goes My Future (2011). Direction includes Lights (National Theatre Studio), Mrs P. (Workshop for Mercury Musical Developments), Electra and Oedipus (Garrick Theatre, Stockport), Clever by Sally Woodcock (RADA reading), Oleanna (Hong Kong Arts Centre), The Turke (Arcola Theatre), The Tempest and Macbeth (ADC Theatre, Cambridge) and Yeats’ Purgatory (Edinburgh Festival).


J.B. Priestley was born in 1894 in Bradford, Yorkshire. His plays dominated the London stage from the 1930s to the 1950s with such classics as Dangerous Corner, Eden End, Laburnum Grove, I Have Been Here Before, Time and the Conways, When We Are Married, Johnson Over Jordan, They Came to a City, An Inspector Calls, The Linden Tree, Summer Day’s Dream and The Glass Cage. His many novels include The Good Companions, Angel Pavement, Bright Day and Lost Empires. During the Second World War, he established a new reputation as a broadcaster and social commentator. He died in 1984.


At the Finborough Theatre, David designed Bed and Sofa (2011).
Trained at The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts with a first class degree in Theatre and Performance Design, and was a finalist in the Linbury Prize for Stage Design.
Theatre includes Sweet Smell of Success (Arts Educational Schools), Love and Understanding (BAC), Twelfth Night (Greenwich Playhouse), Falsettoland (Edinburgh Festival), Six Ways (Jermyn Street Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Costume for Knives in Hens (Arcola Theatre), Kindertransport, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Hedda Gabler (LAMDA).
As an assistant to Christopher Oram, his work includes Le Nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne Festival ), Company (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Passion, King Lear, Spelling Bee (Donmar Warehouse) and Don Giovanni (Metropolitan Opera).


Anna trained at Guildford School of Acting, going on to work in the West End, London fringe and on tour.
As a Creative and Development Coordinator, productions include Being Shakespeare (Trafalgar Studios, UK and US Tour), Yes, Prime Minister (Gielgud Theatre, Apollo Theatre and UK Tours), the Olivier Award-winning Legally Blonde the Musical (Savoy Theatre), Death and the Maiden (Harold Pinter Theatre), Journey’s End (UK Tour), Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Birdsong (Comedy Theatre), Onassis (Derby, transferring to the Novello Theatre).  Other shows include Krapp’s Last Tape (Duchess Theatre), the Olivier Award-winning Enron (Noel Coward Theatre), the Olivier Award-winning Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), the Olivier Award-winning Spring Awakening (Novello Theatre), the Tony Award-winning Boeing-Boeing (Comedy Theatre, Broadway and UK tour), For King and Country (UK tour), Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Humble Boy (Gielgud Theatre), Jumpers (Piccadilly Theatre), Man and Boy (Duchess Theatre and UK Tour) and the European premiere of Songs for a New World (Bridewell Theatre). As a Production and Casting Assistant, Anna has worked at Out of the Blue Productions (A Life in the Theatre, Some Girl(s), Fool for Love), and for Nimax Theatres (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
Anna has worked as a Casting Assistant on numerous commercials (including Adidas, Olay, John Lewis, Red Cross), music promos (The Sugababes, The Saturday's), print campaigns, films, television (Larkrise to Candleford for the BBC, Trinity for ITV2) and theatre.


At the Finborough Theatre, Howard designed the European premieres of Bed and Sofa (2011) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Me and Juliet (2010).
Studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. He won the 2011 and 2012 Off West End Award for Best Lighting Design. Theatre includes Parade (Southwark Playhouse), State Fair (Trafalgar Studios), Cowardy Custard (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and UK Tour), Keeler (New Victoria Theatre, Woking, and UK Tour), Educating Rita (English Theatre Frankfurt), Less Than Kind (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and UK Tour), A Tale of Two Cities (Charing Cross Theatre), The Thing About Men, The Glorious Ones, Ragtime, The Hired Man, Tomorrow Morning, Smokey Joeʼs Café, Hello Jerry!, Bent (Landor Theatre), Four Nights in Knaresborough (Southwark Playhouse), Allegro, Carnival (Bridewell Theatre), Spring Awakening (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Noel and Gertie (Cockpit Theatre), 1936, The Tender Land, A Warsaw Melody (Arcola Theatre), Twelfth Night (Creation Theatre, Oxford), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Union Theatre), The Boyfriend (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Burlesque, Romeo and Juliet, The Art of Concealment, The Importance of Being Earnest (Jermyn Street), Sweet Smell of Success (Arts Educational Schools), Uprising, Miranda, Gandhi in South Africa, Peopleʼs Romeo (Tara Arts and UK Tour), Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure (Ambassadors Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Antic Disposition),  Shakespeare Revue (New End Theatre, Cochrane Theatre and UK Tour), Guys and Dolls, The Drowsy Chaperone, Buried Child (Upstairs at the Gatehouse) and The Consultant (Theatre 503).
Associate Lighting Designs include Du ska få en dag i mårå...(The Norwegian Theatre, Oslo) and Hair, Deathtrap, Five Guys Named Moe (English Theatre Frankfurt). www.howardhudson.co.uk


At the Finborough Theatre, Alex was Sound Designer and Composer for Mixed Marriage (2011).
As Composer, Alex’s work has included Ballet Black (Royal Opera House), Hamlet (National Theatre), Earthquakes in London (National Theatre and Headlong Theatre), In The Dust (2Faced Dance, Edinburgh and European Tour) and Playsong (Tristan Bates Theatre).
Music and Sound Designs include Betrayal, Othello, Hobson’s Choice (Sheffield Theatres), DNA (Hull Truck Theatre and National Tour), The Sea Plays (Old Vic Tunnels), Salt, Root and Roe (Donmar Warehouse at Trafalgar Studios), The Faith Machine (Royal Court Theatre), Rose (Pleasance Edinburgh), Bassett (National Theatre Connections) and Herding Cats (Theatre Royal Bath and Hampstead Theatre).
As an Associate, work has included Frankenstein (National Theatre - as Music Associate with Underworld), The Merchant of Venice (Royal Shakespeare Company - Music Associate/Co-orchestrator with Composer/Sound Designer Adam Cork), Men Should Weep (National Theatre - Music Associate with Composer Michael Bruce), Women Beware Women (National Theatre - Music Associate with Composer Olly Fox), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (National Theatre) and Nation (National Theatre - Music Associate with Composer Adrian Sutton).
Alex also works extensively as a Composer in Film and Television.
Current and forthcoming productions include The Prophet (Gate Theatre, London) and The Village Bike (Sheffield Theatres).


Alan Cox Cornelius.

At the Finborough Theatre, Alan appeared in Chu Chin Chow (2008) and Atman as part of Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights (2010).  Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Theatre includes The Caretaker (Adelaide Festival and US Tour), The Tempest (Jericho House), Blok/Eko, Hurts Given and Received, Found in the Ground and The Fence (The Wrestling School), Behind the Eye (Cincinnati Playhouse), 50 Hour Improvathon (Hoxton Hall), Much Ado About Nothing (Chester Performs), Orwell: A Celebration (Trafalgar Studios), Frost/Nixon (US Tour), Natural Selection (Theatre 503), Passion Play (Goodman Theatre, Chicago), Translations (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Creeper (Playhouse Theatre), The Rubenstein Kiss (Hampstead Theatre), The Earthly Paradise (Almeida Theatre), John Bull’s Other Island (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), The Flu Season (Gate Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Duchess of Malfi (Salisbury Playhouse), Three Sisters (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), An Enemy Of The People, Wild Oats, Absolute Hell and The Seagull (National Theatre), The Lady's Not for Burning and On The Razzle (Chichester Festival Theatre), Strange Interlude (Duke of York’s Theatre), and several productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is a regular improviser with Ken Campbell's School of Night. Film includes Contagion, Mrs. Dalloway, An Awfully Big Adventure and Young Sherlock Holmes. Television includes A Voyage Around My Father, The Odyssey, Not Only But Always, Housewife 49, John Adams and Margaret.

Emily Barber

Trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Theatre includes Orpheus and Eurydice (National Youth Theatre), Earthquakes In London, Henry IV Part II (RADA), Rent, Liar (Key Theatre, Peterborough), West End Live, The Hired Man and Fiddler On The Roof (National Youth Music Theatre) and Young People in the Performing Arts (Buckingham Palace).

Robin Browne 

Theatre includes End Of The Rainbow (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton, and Trafalgar Studios),  An Enemy Of The People (Arcola Theatre), Swing (Kaos Theatre at BAC), Allegiance (Assembly Productions at the Edinburgh Festival), As You Like It (Theatre Royal Bath, Rose Theatre Kingston and US Tour), The Constant Wife (National Tour, Apollo Theatre and Lyric Theatre) Office Games (Pleasance London), An Ideal Husband (National Tour), House and Garden (National Theatre) and The Perfect Murder.  Television includes Call The Midwife, Little Britain, Panorama – The Hutton Inquiry, Judge John Deed), The Hunter and the Hunted, The Final Passage, Wycliffe, Crime Monthly and Grange Hill.

David Ellis

At the Finborough Theatre, David appeared in The American Clock (2012). Theatre includes The History Boys (Greenwich Theatre), AGM (Soho Theatre), The Ballard of the Copper Revolution (Old Vic Tunnels), Gangster of Love (Charing Cross Theatre), The Lodger (Oval House Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (River House Arts Centre), The Interview, Meat (Southwark Playhouse), Tales From the Tube (Etcetera Theatre), Newsrevue (Canal Cafe Theatre), Stitching  (Sell a Door Theatre Company), The Railway Children (George Square Theatre, Edinburgh) and Sacrifice, Rob and the Hoodies (Vienna’s English Theatre).Film includes Casting.

Andrew Fallaize

At the Finborough Theatre, Andrew appeared in Men Without Shadows (2007).
Theatre includes Home (Southwark Playhouse), The Spanish Tragedy (Arcola Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Anatol (Arcola Theatre), The Robbers (National Theatre Platform), Venice Preserved (Arcola Theatre), Measure For Measure (Young Vic Studio), King Lear (English Touring Theatre), Original Sin (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Prince of Homburg (Royal Shakespeare Company and Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), House/Garden (National Theatre) and The School For Wives (BAC).Film includes Who Can I Turn To?, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Sirus and Fingers and Guns.Radio includes Landmark, Tales From the Stave, The Merry Wives of Windsor and How The White King Died. 

Col Farrell

Theatre includes Noises Off (Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich), Quartet (Coliseum Theatre, Oldham, and Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich), Cracks In My Skin (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Dresser (Duke of York's Theatre), Happy Days (Arts Theatre), Volunteers (Gate Theatre), The Taming Of The Shrew (Haymarket Theatre, Leicester), That Old Feeling (The Old Mill, Sonning), Kiss Me Kate (Victoria Palace Theatre), Guys And Dolls (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and The Wars of the Roses, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night. (English Shakespeare Company). He was a member of the Peter Hall Company in 2003, and completed seasons at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Barbican Centre in 1996 and 1997. Television includes New Tricks, Kingdom, Last of the Summer Wine, Midsomer Murders, In Loving Memory and Porridge.

Lewis Hart

Theatre includes Enlightenment Cafe (LAStheatre), Miller (Such Stuff Productions), Turning to the Camera (Siege Perilous), Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Dunsinane (National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company), Life Support (Catapulting Cocoon), Miller (Miller Theatre Productions) and The Cage (BBL Productions).

Beverley Klein

Theatre includes Me and My Girl (Kilworth House), Ephesus-Schmephesus as part of 66 Books (Bush Theatre), Bernarda Alba (Union Theatre), The Kissing Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre), Candide (English National Opera at the London Coliseum and Japanese Tour), Fiddler on the Roof for which she received a WhatsOnStage nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Savoy Theatre), Into The Woods (Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House), The Enchanted Pig (The Opera Group, Linbury Studio Theatre and New Victory Theatre, New York City), Restoration (Headlong), Jerry Springer – The Opera (Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Festival), The Holy Terror (Duke of York’s Theatre), The Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse), Wedding Day at the Cro Magnons (Soho Theatre), Six Characters Looking For An Author (The Young Vic), The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband (Snarling Beasties) and Piaf for which she received a Manchester Evening News Best Actress Award (Nottingham Playhouse, York Theatre Royal and Oldham Coliseum), the original cast of Les Miserables (Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican Theatre and Palace Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Manchester Evening News nomination) and Arms and the Cow (Opera North), Candide, Romeo and Juliet, Honk, The Ugly Duckling, Summerfolk, The Villains' Opera (National Theatre) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (TMA nomination for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical and Six Pictures of Lee Miller (Chichester Festival Theatre). Film includes Swinging With The Finkels. Television includes Ripper Street, Casualty, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Absolutely, Paris, Inspector Morse. Recordings include Les Miserables (Original London Cast and 10th Anniversary Concert), Candide (National Theatre), The Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse) and Fiddler on the Roof (Savoy Theatre). Beverley will be appearing in Sunday in the Park With George at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris in April 2013.

Jamie Newall

At the Finborough Theatre, Jamie appeared in Eden’s Empire (2006). Work in London and abroad includes Next Time I’ll Sing To You (The Orange Tree Theatre), Turandot (The Hampstead Theatre), Donkeys’ Years (UK No.1 Tour), Hamlet (Elsinore Theatre), The Woman In Black (The Fortune Theatre), The Alchemist (The National Theatre), The Great Pretenders and Danton’s Death (The Gate Theatre), Time Out Award for Never The Sinner (Offstage),  Richard III, Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Hamlet, Red Noses, A Christmas Carol (The Royal Shakespeare Company),  Another Country (Queen’s Theatre). Film includes Circularity Thinking. Television includes Silk, Doctors, The Bill, Casualty, Sex Guys and Videotape, Devices and Desires, Yes Prime Minister, Trelawny of the Wells, A Class of His Own. Radio includes: Wives and Daughters, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, The Secret Pilgrim, Hyde Park on Hudson, Flash For Freedom!, McClevy, Colonel Warburton’s Madness, The Mouse That Roared, Baltasar and Blimunda, Friends Of Oscar.

Xanthe Patterson

Theatre includes A Streetcar Named Desire and Closer (Norwich Puppet Theatre) and The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Love of A Nightingale (University of East Anglia).Film includes The Crackling Glade.

Simon Rhodes

Theatre includes Billy Chickens Is A Psychopath Superstar (Theatre503 at Latitude Festival), Accomplice (Menier Chocolate Factory), Colin Hoult's Real Horror Show (Leicester Square Theatre), Descent (OTB and Old Vic Tunnels), Blue On Blue, Trolls, Decade – 2008, You Shouldn't Have (Theatre503), The Hotel, A Number (Edinburgh Festival), Spud and Moose (Old Red Lion Theatre), Check Out (BAC), Good Times Roll (Royal Festival Hall), Something Sweet (Southwark Playhouse), Enemies (Almeida Theatre), Peace, The Bacchae, The Persians (Thiasos; Cyprus & USA), The Hebrew Lesson (New End Theatre), The Plebeians Rehearse The Uprising (Arcola Theatre), Victory Over The Sun, To Moscow To Moscow (New Factory, Conway Hall) and Julius Caesar (Barbican Theatre). Films include The Sky In Bloom and Screwed.

Annabel Topham

Theatre includes Birdsong  (Comedy Theatre), Laundry and Bourbon (Madison Theatre Company), Lady Julia (In The Lamp Light) and Hopscotch (Caravanserai Productions). Workshops include Peter and Alice.



**** The Guardian
**** Financial Times
**** Time Out (Critics' Choice)
**** WhatsOnStage
**** FourthWall
**** Exeunt Magazine
**** London Theatre Reviews


“A fine production by Sam Yates that, that in compressing the four acts into an uninterrupted 80 minutes, gives the play a headlong momentum and never strikes a false note… The most compelling play in London.” **** Four Stars, Michael Billington, The Guardian 

“Sam Yates’ direction the tension builds steadily to an impressive climax.” The Stage 

Yates keeps the pace up and runs the original four-act play in 80 minutes without a break. Yet he still finds time for repose, filling transitions with characters isolated in David Plater’s coolly atmospheric light.” David Benedict, Variety 

“Sam Yates’ exciting production assures us that the play’s issues remain timeless.” **** Four Stars, What’s On Stage 

“The set, lights, costumes in the hands of this highly sensitive and passionate director blend into an amazing production.” **** Four Stars, Blanche Marvin, London Theatre Reviews 


 Five Stars, One Stop Arts
 Four Stars, WhatsOnStage
 Four Stars, Everything Theatre
 Four Stars, The Arts Desk
 Four Stars, The Public Reviews
 Four Stars, The Guardian
 Four Stars, Time Out Critics’ Choice
 Four Stars, The Times
 Four Stars, London Evening Standard
 Four Stars, London Theatreview

The production has been nominated for an Off West End
award for 2012 under the following categories:-
Best male performance
Best director
Best set design

“Accolades are due again for the tiny Finborough Theatre, whose production of JB Priestley's all-but-unknown Cornelius constitutes the most exciting reclamation from the English theatrical canon since the same venue produced Emlyn Williams's startling and welcome Accolade some 18 months ago.” Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk

“Continuing their well-trodden path of delving into the dusty shelves of neglected British plays, the Finborough have come up trumps yet again with this neatly amusing and unpredictable little curiosity.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“It’s rare that a “rediscovered theatrical gem” lives up to its pre-billing. But just this once, just maybe, the always intrepid Finborough won’t be breaking the Trade Descriptions Act, with this superb revival of an all but forgotten 1935 JB Priestley piece written for Ralph Richardson.” Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard

“Hats off yet again to the Finborough in not only rediscovering the play but in presenting such quality in the production that equals any national theatre or west end production.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreview

“Great casting, strong consistent performances, tight stage direction and an engaging, relatable story, all set in an intimate and comfortable venue, with the added benefit of air conditioning and a well stocked wine bar downstairs!” Everything Theatre

“Cornelius resonates surprisingly with a modern audience…This is a high quality, polished exploration of an era that is sometimes peculiarly familiar and at other times entertainingly unexpected.” Catherine Usher, The Stage

“A sensitive and nuanced revival of a classic, the Finborough wins through again, executing a tricky play with remarkable finesse.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“The latest “rediscovery” of a play from the Finborough Theatre is Cornelius by J.B.Priestley and it’s a real gem. A rich text, full of ideas, humour and drama, it is not to be missed.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“Whenever the Finborough Theatre digs up a play that's languished in obscurity for decades and turns out to be surprisingly good, the natural reaction is to wonder how the work could have remained "lost" for so long.” Partially Obstructed View

“A slightly unusual but very affecting lost classic - whose modern-day relevance is apparent, but never overplayed.” Partially Obstructed View

“Priestley’s play is, overall, a most delightful thing: a touching, funny, vivid snapshot of office life between the wars.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“A startlingly relevant look at an economic system under stress, shot through with Priestley’s trademark social conscience.” Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard

“A timely bulletin from an age so like our own.” Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard

“A combative state-of-the-nation play at a time when British drama was filled with gossamer-light escapism.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Anyone who has ever sat behind an office desk and felt a creeping, claustrophobic panic will find this little-known 1935 drama by J. B. Priestley painfully pertinent.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Indeed, with its farewells and declarations, its sense of hopes raised and unceremoniously dashed, of opportunities missed and life moving on, there’s a distinctly Chekovian flavour to the final act of Cornelius.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“It’s a bitterly funny and affecting cavalcade of human misery in the pitiless world of commerce.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Piercingly relevant, compassionate and delivered, like Cornelius’s bons mots, with great style.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Priestley’s play, finally seeking a way towards more positive values, is very much for today.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate

“Originally written for the great Ralph Richardson in 1935, Cornelius is a very timely piece and has undeservedly been neglected for over 70 years.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“To my surprise, only ever having once seen a J.B. Priestley play on stage and that being a poor, clunky, dated production, Cornelius is a fast paced, powerful and touching play that veers from high comedy to high drama seemlessly.” Colin Appleby, Bargain Theatre

“If it sounds unrelentingly bleak, it's not. Priestley's workplace drama is enlivened with interesting characters, moments of humour, a couple of unrequited romances and an unpredictability that makes it hard to categorize.” Partially Obstructed View

“This neglected interwar play by JB Priestley strikes a resounding contemporary chord.” Lucy Powell, Metro

“How telling that Priestley’s play should now be so relevant amidst the plethera of musicals, comedies, and gimmicky revivals.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreview

“The Finborough once again demonstrates its keen eye for a timely revival with this gem by JB Priestley. Unseen in London for 70 years, its story of a small import office facing bankruptcy seems painfully prescient.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Please don’t miss this outstanding play!” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“The cast deliver highly credible, consistent performances which for me brings the play vibrantly to life.” Everything Theatre

“The play has been beautifully cast.” David Chadderton, British Theatre Guide

“He also comes up with a monumental leading role, which Alan Cox here fills to the brim.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Alan Cox is charismatic and effervescent as Cornelius.” Catherine Usher, The Stage

“A dynamic Alan Cox makes the role devised for Ralph Richardson entirely his own.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“Cox is perfect in bringing out nuance and adding the touch of poetry that makes his character fascinating.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“Cornelius, given an ebullient turn by Cox.” Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard

“At the centre of it all in Alan Cox’s titular character, an irrepressible presence to warm the very cockles of this play and deliciously engaging with it. Cox swoops and glides with such an easy comic grace that lends a greater pathos to the lows that must surely accompany such highs and negotiates the transition into tragicomedy beautifully.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“The leading role of Cornelius, the man of decency and kindness remaining loyal to his partner and desperately trying to save the business yet is the sad poet who dreams of other worlds of adventure decrying the emptiness of his life as a petty businessman is beautifully delineated by Alan Cox.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreview

“A charismatic actor is required to play this role and Alan Cox does not disappoint. Charming and witty he gives a brilliant portrayal of this intriguing character.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“Col Farrell as the satisfied pen-pusher, Annabel Topham as the devoted secretary, Beverley Klein as the bossy char and flirtatious cousin of the landlord, Emily Barber as the eternal survivor, and Jamie Newall as the despairing Murrison add an enormous amount of colour and authenticity to this production.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreview

“Well supported in Sam Yates's lively production by Col Farrell as a methodical pen-pusher, Annabel Topham as the love-smitten secretary and Beverley Klein as a grumbling cleaner.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“I have rarely seen a play where every single actor is flawlessly cast but here it is a delight to see.  All of the cast are uniformly good, from David Ellis as the teenage Lawrence stomping around in a huff, to Beverly Klein as the battle axe of a cleaner.” Colin Appleby, Bargain Theatre

“David Ellis captures nineteen-year-old Lawrence’s building frustration at his lack of progress.” David Chadderton, British Theatre Guide

“As straight-talking cleaner Mrs Roberts and posh landlord's niece Mrs Reade, Beverley Klein rules the stage.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“The always-cherishable Beverley Klein is striking in two roles.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“The rest of the large cast are also uniformly impressive, with Beverley Klein demonstrating her diversity as cleaner Mrs Roberts and later lady of leisure Mrs Reade.” Catherine Usher, The Stage

“Annabel Topham’s hesitant, longing Miss Porrin is satisfyingly yet painfully tragic.” Catherine Usher, The Stage

“Annabel Topham is excellent.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“Annabel Topham’s prim Miss Porrin building up a world of genuine pain behind her pursed lips – excellent work.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Annabel Topham's purse-lipped Miss Porrin stalks between comedy and tragedy.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Annabel Topham gives a funny and quietly moving performance.” Partially Obstructed View

“Finely performed by Annabel Topham and Emily Barber.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“Emily Barber does very well at stealing the limelight away from Cornelius as the beautiful young secretary Judy Evison. Barber has a captivating starlet quality.” Catherine Usher, The Stage

“Emily Barber, as the lovely and beautiful Judy Evison, manages to steal the show with her disarming charm and candour.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“Emily Barber was also beautifully cast, entrancingly attractive and with a real sincerity about her that made her impact on Cornelius’s life entirely credible.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Judy is played with real charm by a sweet-faced Emily Barber.” Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk

“Col Farrell’s daffy Biddle is highly endearing.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Col Farrell as right hand man Biddle was superb, wholly convincing and utterly loveable.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Col Farrell makes Biddle, with his passion for personalising figures, one of those delightful old buffers you can’t help but love.” David Chadderton, British Theatre Guide

“Col Farrell is lovely as the devoted cashier.” Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk

“Col Farrell is lovably eccentric as accountant Biddle.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Jamie Newall as the returned Murrison gave a compellingly understated performance.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Remarkably portrayed by Jamie Newall.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“Sam Yates and his hugely accomplished cast do the occasion proud.” Matt Wolf, The Arts Desk

“This attractively strange and surprising 1935 play by J B Priestley, acutely well cast and directed by Sam Yates.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“Director Sam Yates has done a marvellous thing. He has managed to revitalise J.B. Priestley’s playCornelius – a play that, tellingly, has not been produced in London for over 70 years – whilst retaining a commendable loyalty to the play’s 1935 setting, characters and plot.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Director Sam Yates gives this superb play the excellent production it deserves.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“Yates brings great focus to a tight script, making Cornelius a riveting work and this production is not just the finest on the fringe but one of the hottest tickets in town.” Edward Lukes, The London Magazine

“This will be the first time in over 70 years that the play has been seen in London – but Sam Yates’ production flows with an undeniably persuasive energy to make this a revival worth paying attention to.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Sam Yates's sensitive, well-judged production.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Sam Yates’s perfectly pitched, ideally cast and neatly designed production at the Finborough – the first London staging in seventy (count ‘em!) years – makes a thoroughly convincing case for this neglected play.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“Yates’s radiant revival.” Alex Ramon, One Stop Arts

“Sam Yates’s production is beautifully modulated and played to perfection.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Director Sam Yates gives each character and every moment significance.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate

“Sam Yate’s sparkling production is a wonder of period detail and he pulls sterling performances from the cast.” Lucy Powell, Metro

“Sam Yates stages the climaxes and interplay of the characters with such humanity.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatreview

“This witty and wise production is skilfully directed by Sam Yates.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre

“The characters are as beautifully realised as the fusty, faded and subtly lit set.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Designer David Woodhead’s stunning set, meticulous in its attention to detail.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Spot-on Thirties design from David Woodhead.” Fiona Mountford, London Evening Standard

“David Woodhead’s remarkably effective and clever design creates a real sense of location.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews

“Emily Barratt and Pippa Batt’s precisely chosen period costumes.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Subtle and sophisticated lighting by Howard Hudson.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“Hauntingly well chosen music and sound composed by Alex Baranowski.” Imogen Sarre, A Younger Theatre

“It is a wonderfully two-toned performance.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The Finborough has been on fire over the last year.” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“Like the Orange Tree, the Finborough explores parts of the repertoire the National Theatre won’t reach.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“Reviewing plays at the Finborough has been a highlight this year for me and after a run of such stunning plays as The Drawer Boy and Events Whilst Guarding the Bofors Gun I have started to approach pieces here wondering if they can keep their standards so high. I need not have worried as Cornelius just serves to confirm the Finborough’s place amongst those powerhouses of theatre who punch considerably above their weight time and time again.” Colin Appleby, Bargain Theatre


Tuesday, 14 August – Saturday, 8 September 2012

Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3.00pm.


Performance Length: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes with one interval of fifteen minutes.

14 August - 26 August 2012

Tickets £14, £10 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £10 all seats, and Saturday evenings £14 all seats.
Previews (14th and 15th August) £10 all seats.

£6 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£11 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 18 August 2012 when booked online only.

28 August - 8 September 2012

Tickets £16, £12 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £12 all seats, and Saturday evenings £16 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here



Directed by Sam Yates

Designed by David Woodhead

Lighting Designed by Howard Hudson

Composed by Alex Baranowski

Presented by Anna Collins and 31 Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre