Spring 2014 | February - May 2014


by Jean-Jacques Bernard.
Translated by John Fowles.

Tuesday, 22 April – Saturday, 17 May 2014

★★★★★ PlaysToSee
★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ WhatsOnStage
★★★★ Exuent

Time Out Critics' Choice

OffWestEnd Award Nominations

Best Female Performance - Hannah Murray as Martine at Finborough
Best Female Performance in a Supporting Role - Susan Penhaglion for Martine at Finborough
Best Production - Martine at Finborough
Best Director - Tom Littler for Martine at Finborough
Best Sound Designer - Max Pappenheim for Martine at Finborough

Jean-Jacques Bernard’s seminal 1922 play in the first UK production for more than 25 years

“When you’re away I can’t survive without her, I keep talking to her about you. And I hurt her. I seem to have to do it.”

The Great War is over. It is the summer of 1920, in rural France.

By a dusty road, a girl is sitting under the shade of an apple tree. She sees someone walking towards her. He is a young man, just back from fighting in Syria. He joins her under the tree, and a tragic love story begins.

Often compared to Chekhov, and much admired by Harold Pinter, Jean-Jacques Bernard creates a unique emotional landscape of beauty and longing, desire and disappointment.

Originally written in 1922, Martine was produced all over the world during the 1920s with many leading actresses of the day in the title role, including Madeleine Renaud. It was first produced in English at the Gate Theatre in 1929, and played the West End in 1933. During the 1920s and 1930s, it was performed all over the world. It was filmed for the BBC in 1952 with a cast including Claire Bloom and Denholm Elliot, and in 1985 John Fowles’s translation was produced at the National Theatre, directed by Peter Hall, starring Wendy Morgan.


Playwright Jean-Jacques Bernard was born in 1888, the son of leading French dramatist Tristan Bernard. Martine, his story of youth and romance in post-War France remains the best-known of all his plays. Bernard belonged to a group of artists called La Chimère, who attacked the prevailing melodramatic theatre (which they described as ‘an armchair between dinner and bedtime’) and pioneered drama that was domestic in action and naturalistic in style. His other plays include L’Invitation au Voyage, Nationale 6 and The Gardener of Ispahan. As a Jew living in occupied France, he was imprisoned during the Second World War in the notorious Compiègne camp and narrowly escaped deportation. He died in 1972.


Translator John Fowles (1926-2005) was an English novelist. After reading French at Oxford University, he became a teacher before starting to write. His best-known works include The Collector (1963), The Magus (1966) and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) which was later made into an Oscar-nominated film with a screenplay by Harold Pinter. He also completed two other translations for the National Theatre – Don Juan (1981) and Lorenzaccio (1983). He was named by The Times in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest post-War writers.


Tom Littler | Director

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Jingo: A Farce of War by Charles Wood; and a season of rediscoveries comprising The Boatswain's Mate by Ethel Smyth, The Mollusc by H.H. Davies and The Confidential Clerk by T.S. Eliot.

Tom is Artistic Director of Primavera and Associate Director of Theatre503. Productions for Primavera include The Living Room, Bloody Poetry, Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street Theatre), Saturday Night (Arts Theatre), Origin of the Species (Arcola Theatre), the premiere of Shiverman and European premiere of Madagascar (Theatre503), Antigone (Southwark Playhouse) and two seasons of Forgotten Classics staged readings (King’s Head Theatre).

Recent directing includes Absurd Person Singular (The Mill at Sonning), Dear Liar (Vienna’s English Theatre), As You Like It (Guildford Shakespeare Company), the premiere of Dances of Death (Gate Theatre), Good Grief (Theatre Royal Bath and Tour), Tomfoolery (UK Tour), A Little Night Music (Menier Chocolate Factory and Central Theatre, Budapest), Murder in the Cathedral (Oxford Playhouse) and The Twelve-Pound Look, Mr and Mrs Nobody and One for the Road (Frinton Summer Theatre). Tom was educated at Oxford University. As an assistant director, he worked widely in the West End and regionally for directors including Laurence Boswell, Peter Gill, Peter Hall, Alan Strachan and Stephen Unwin. He was Associate Director of The Peter Hall Company for three years, and worked four times as Trevor Nunn’s Associate Director. Tom’s work has been nominated and shortlisted multiple times for OffWestEnd Awards and has received numerous Critics' Choice Awards.


Designer Cherry Truluck has been nominated twice this year for an OffWestEnd Award (for Primavera's The Living Room and Thark at the Park Theatre). Her other recent work includes Samuel Beckett's All That Fall, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins in New York and The West End, and Berkoff: Religion and Anarchy, directed by Steven Berkoff and Max Barton, at Jermyn Street Theatre.


Leila Crerar | Jeanne

Trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Macbeth (Perth Theatre and Tron Theatre, Glasgow), Prophesy (Site Specific for Baz Productions), Odyssey (The Factory at the Bristol Old Vic), The Merchant of Venice (Creation Theatre Company), Decade (Headlong), Hamlet (The Factory at the Rose Theatre, Kingston), We Love You City (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), We Are One (Apollo Theatre), The Seagull (Factory at the Hampstead Theatre), Those Little Brown Backed Books (Arcola Theatre), Relatively Speaking, Rock ‘n’ Roll (Library Theatre, Manchester), Othello (Frantic Assembly), Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Sit and Shiver (Hackney Empire), Be My Baby (Dukes Theatre, Lancaster) and Emma (Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke).
Film includes Confession, Mecca 3, Tales from Pleasure Beach, and Two Way Journey.
Television includes EastEnders, Casualty, Torchwood, Doctors, and Belonging (three series).

Hannah Murray | Martine

Read English at Cambridge University.
Theatre includes That Face (Duke of York’s Theatre).
Film includes Suburbs, Lily and Kat, God Help the Girl (Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Award), The Numbers Station, Dark Shadows, Womb and Chatroom.
Television includes Skins: Pure, Game of Thrones, Skins for which she received a Monte-Carlo Television Festival Golden Nymph Award nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Susan Penhaligon | Madame Mervan

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Hindle Wakes. Trained at Webber Douglas.
Theatre includes The Real Thing (Strand Theatre), Three Sisters (Albery Theatre), The Mysterious Mr Love and The Maintenance Man (Harold Pinter Theatre) and Dangerous Corner (Whitehall Theatre and UK Tour), Of Mice and Men (Mermaid Theatre), Having a Ball, Bedroom Farce, The Constant Wife, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Death Trap, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Agatha Christie’s Verdict and The Madness of George III (UK Tours), The Complacent Lover, A Doll’s House , Time and the Conways, The Lower Depths and The Cherry Orchard (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Broken Glass (West Yorkshire Playhouse), the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Misery (King’s Head Theatre). Film includes leading roles in Top Dog, The Uncanny, The Confessional, The Land that Time Forgot, No Sex Please We’re British, Leopard in the Snow, Nasty Habits, Patrick, Soldier of the Queen, Private Road and two short films – Citizen versus Kane and Say You Love Me.
Television includes Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Casualty, Wycliffe and Doctor Who. She played Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew for the BBC’s Shakespeare season and Prue in A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Other leading parts were in Fay Weldon’s Heart of the Country and Stan Barstow’s A Kind of Loving. She played Lucy in Dracula for the BBC and Judi Dench’s sister Helen in four series of the award winning sitcom A Fine Romance. She played the regular role of Jean Hope in Emmerdale for a year, and recently appeared in episodes of Casualty and Doctors.
Writing includes a first novel, For the Love of Angel, a story set in Cornwall in the 1880s, and published by Truran Books.

Chris Porter | Alfred

Trained at LAMDA.
Theatre includes Othello (Guildford Shakespeare Company), Joking Apart (UK Tour), What the Dickens (UK Tour), Aladdin (Creation Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Guildford Shakespeare Company), Friend or Foe (Scamp at Watford Palace), The Hypochondriac (Liverpool Playhouse and English Touring Theatre), Victory (Arcola Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Red Shift), Hard Times (UK Tour for Compass Theatre Company), Onysos the Wild (Theatre503 and Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Tartuffe (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Globe Theatre, Warsaw), Angels Among The Trees (Nottingham Playhouse), The Legend of King Arthur and Bartleby (Red Shift), Saints Day and The Road to Ruin (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Art of Success (Arcola Theatre), The Winter’s Tale and The Maid’s Tragedy (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Dwarfs, The Local Stigmatic and Lakeboat (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh).
Film includes The Winslow Boy.
Television includes Bad Girls, Footballers' Wives, The Bill, Nail Bomber and The Genius of Mozart.
Radio includes The Wild Asses Skin and Heart Transplant.

Barnaby Sax | Julien

Trained at Oxford School of Drama and the National Youth Theatre.
Theatre includes Laughton (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Pride and Prejudice (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Tom, Dick and Harry (Old Red Lion Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Two Bean Bags (Soho Theatre).


Primavera has received numerous Critics' Choice awards and Off-West End nominations, including Best Production, Best Director, Best New Play, Best Actor and Best Actress multiple times, Best Set, Best Costume, Best Lighting, and Best Sound. It has worked with actors including Caroline Blakiston, Sorcha Cusack, Rosalie Craig, the late Richard Griffiths, Harry Hadden-Paton, Susannah Harker, Anthony Howell, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Moore, Christopher Timothy, David Warner, Honeysuckle Weeks and Marjorie Yates.


“Exquisite poignancy...Tom Littler and Primavera's production does rich justice to the play's still, sad music.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Tom Littler’s production of this intimate 1922 drama by Jean-Jacques Bernard is so erotically intense that it’s almost dizzying.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“An intriguing, emotional play.” Laura Barnett, Time Out

“It is a performance pitched precisely right for the Finborough's intimate space, and proof that sometimes small fringe theatre can do things better than larger venues.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“A work of delicacy and startling power. Superbly acted, the production seems to shimmer with heat, sensuality and unspoken suffering.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Chekhovian in its bittersweet mood of yearning and love, it receives a beautifully nuanced production - apparently the first in the UK for nearly 30 years - by Primavera with a palate of pitch perfect performances.” Jonathan Lovett, The Stage

“Delicately moving...Yet another great rediscovery for the Finborough Theatre.” Neil Dowden, Exeunt

“A moving and sensitive production.” Robbie Lumsden, BargainTheatreland

“Through exquisite use of pause and music, and a subtlety that chimes with the play’s mood music, director Tom Littler and his five-strong cast weave a beguiling atmosphere.” Jonathan Lovett, The Stage

“Spare, poetic and suffused with muted passion and pain, this is a quietly devastating miniature tragedy.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Primavera's exquisite production...Allied to director Tom Littler's nuanced direction and Max Pappenheim's delicate score, the cosy Finborough theatre is made to seem the perfect venue for this intimate.” Jimmy Kelly, WhatsOnStage

“Bernard’s fractured, resonant dialogue feels compellingly truthful.” Laura Barnett, Time Out

“Hannah Murray is outstanding as the titular ingenue...Martine’s raw, instinctive emotions are compellingly captured by Murray who illuminates the stage from first to last.” Jonathan Lovett, The Stage

“A stunning performance from Hannah Murray as Martine.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Her beautifully nuanced and underplayed performance.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatre Guide London

“Superb performances – especially from Murray as the trusting, lovelorn Martine – wring every drop of emotion from a very worthwhile revival.” Laura Barnett, Time Out

“An outstanding lead performance from Hannah Murray. This young actress, familiar from parts in Game of Thrones and Skins, plays Martine with dignity and power.” Robbie Lumsden, BargainTheatreland

“Hannah Murray is outstanding.” Jimmy Kelly, WhatsOnStage

“If you can get still get a ticket to this master-class in youthful talent, you should. Simple as that.” London at Large

"Beautifully nuanced and subtly underplayed by the five-strong cast" Redstone.fm

“Susan Penhaligon is outstanding.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

"Strong support from Susan Penhaligon as his all-seeing grandmother, Leila Crerar as his nimble-witted fiancee and Chris Porter as a surly rustic.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Barnaby Sax’s performance has a dangerously easy charm and casual elegance.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Leila Crerar is both silky and steely as the highly polished Jeanne.” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Director Tom Littler delivers a nicely nuanced, sensuous account of the play.” Neil Dowden, Exeunt


“A luminous minor masterpiece … Deeply moving.” The Sunday Times

“Extraordinarily effective and intensely moving.” Peter Hepple, The Stage

“Marvellously and movingly real … It’s with good reason that Bernard has been compared to Chekhov. He’s interested in suggestion and moral nuance, not in sensational event or the blacks and whites of melodrama. It’s his aim to show very little, not how much, can destroy a person.” Benedict Nightingale, The New Statesman

“A beautiful play… The rare and lasting quality of the play is that it succeeds in dramatising a cycle of commonplace events which most writers would have felt obliged to distort for theatrical effect.” Irving Wardle, The Times

“Nothing is said, but emotions throb beneath the lines. And you may catch the sound of a heart breaking.” The Mail on Sunday

“Bernard shows himself to be a masterly theatrical ironist … a minor masterpiece … a timeless tragedy.” Michael Billington, The Guardian


“How stimulating it is to see such directorial invention.” ★★★★ Four Stars, Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, on Antigone

“A single false note would ruin everything, but Littler’s production has a miraculous assurance.” ★★★★★ Five Stars, Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph Critics' Choice, on Dances of Death

“Tom Littler’s production is detailed and intelligent….” ★★★★ Four Stars, Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard Critic’s Choice, on The Living Room

“Tom Littler’s riveting production…” ★★★★ Four Stars, Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage, on The Living Room

“Exuberant … Tom Littler’s production runs like an all-singing, all-dancing train.” ★★★★ Five Stars, Tamara Gausi, Time Out Critics' Choice, on Saturday Night

“Tom Littler’s production does richly textured justice…” ★★★★ Four Stars, Paul Taylor, The Independent, on Bloody Poetry

“Tom Littler’s lucid production … is extraordinarily moving. Littler responds to the writing’s richness with a production of succulent density … A work of intricate imagination, immaculately delivered.” ★★★★ Four Stars, Sam Marlowe, The Times, on Origin of the Species

“Tom Littler’s fine, detailed production ensures you hang on every word.” ★★★★ Four Stars, Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph, on Madagascar


Tuesday, 22 April – Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 3 May 2014).

Performance Length: 1 hour and 40 minutes with no interval.

22 April - 4 May 2014

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (22 and 23 April) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 26 April 2014 when booked online only.

6 - 17 May 2014

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

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


Directed by Tom Littler

Set Design by Cherry Truluck

Costume Design by Emily Stuart

Lighting Design by Tim Mascall

Sound Design by Max Pappenheim

Presented by Primavera in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.