Spring Season 2014 | February - May 2014

THE HARD MAN

by Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle

 
Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 March 2014

The first London production for more than 25 years

“I’m a lunatic. A right bad lot. What the Judge always calls, “A menace to society”. I’m speaking to you tonight from a Scottish prison where I am serving a life-sentence for murder. What you are going to see is my life as I remember it”

Glasgow, the 1970s. Johnny Byrne is a young schoolboy involved in petty crime and violence. But when he meets Deadeye, he soon finds himself known as a ‘hard man’ and being convicted of murder. But it is when he is serving his sentence in Barlinnie that the real acts of brutality occur...

Based on the life of Jimmy Boyle, co-writer of the play and – at the time of its production – still a prisoner in Barlinnie Special Unit, The Hard Man is his compelling and shocking study of a brutalised man in a brutalising system.

One of multi-award-winning playwright Tom McGrath’s most enduring works, The Hard Man now receives its first performances in London since 1985 in a new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre.

This production contains full frontal male nudity, strong language and scenes of extreme violence.

ABOUT PLAYWRIGHT TOM MCGRATH

Playwright Tom McGrath was born in Rutherglen, Glasgow, in 1940. During the mid 1960s, he was associated with the emerging UK underground culture, participating in Alexander Trocchi's Project Sigma, working as features editor of Peace News, and becoming founding editor of The International Times. During the early 1970s, he worked with Billy Connolly on The Great Northern Welly-Boot Show. From 1974 to 1977, he was director of the Third Eye Centre where he wrote the popular play Laurel and Hardy. He died in 2009.

ABOUT CO-WRITER JIMMY BOYLE

Co-writer Jimmy Boyle was born in Gorbals, Glasgow, in 1944. He is a Scottish sculptor, novelist and convicted murderer. In 1967, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder. During his incarceration he turned to wrote an autobiography, A Sense of Freedom (1977), which has since been filmed. On his release from prison, he continued his artistic career. He designed the largest concrete sculpture in Europe called Gulliver for The Craigmillar Festival Society in 1976. Boyle has also published Pain of Confinement: Prison Diaries (1984), and a novel, Hero of the Underworld (1999). The latter was adapted for a French film, La Rage et le Rêve des Condamnés (The Anger and Dreams of the Condemned), and won the best documentary prize at the Fifa Montreal awards in 2002. He also has written a forthcoming novel, A Stolen Smile.

ABOUT DIRECTOR MARK DOMINY

Director Mark Dominy was the Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre where he has assisted Alex Marker on Summer Day's Dream, David Mercatali on Black Jesus and a variety of directors including Kate Wasserberg and Purni Morell on Vibrant 2013 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. Trained at the University of East Anglia. Direction includes Nylons (The Globe, Brighton), What I Want to Say But Never Will (Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre, Cambridge), Oedipus – The Hour (Edinburgh Festival), The Trial (Studio Theatre, Norwich) and One For The Road (Rehearsal Theatre, Norwich). Assistant Direction includes The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre) and Wives As They Were and Maids as They Are (Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds).

ABOUT THE CASTING DIRECTOR

Casting Director Emily Jones

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Unscorched.

Theatre includes World Enough and Time (Park Theatre), The Keepers of Infinite Space (Park Theatre) and As You Like It, Richard III (Changeling Theatre).Film includes Limbo (JenX Films) and Ibiza Undead (Temple Heart Films). Emily has assisted Ginny Schiller for the past year on over twenty productions including 1984 (Headlong), Relative Values (Theatre Royal Bath) and Scenes from a Marriage (St James Theatre), both directed by Trevor Nunn, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Ghosts (Rose Theatre, Kingston) and Pride and Prejudice (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park).

ABOUT THE CAST

Martin Docherty | Johnny Byrne

Trained at Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Theatre includes Pinocchio (The Arches), Cooking with Elvis (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), Nasty Brutish and Short (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Antigone (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), Risk (Tron Theatre, Glasgow) and The Cabinet of Dr. Jekyll (Britannia Panopticon).

Film includes Filth and Cloud Atlas.

Television includes Battlefield Britain, Still Game, Dear Green Place, River City, Rab C Nesbitt, Gary Tank Commander, One Night in Emergency, Case Histories and Young James.

Ross Dunsmore | Deadeye/Archie/Kelley/Policeman/Clerk/Mochan

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Theatre includes The Crucible (National Theatre of Scotland), Othello (Citizens Theatre, Glsgow), The Baby (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), The Cosmonaut’s Last Message (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), Jackets (Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, and Bush Theatre), Gulliver’s Travels (Theatr Clwyd Cymru), The Angel’s Share (Borderline Theatre Company), If We Shadows (The Young Vic), The Cherry Orchard, The Card (New Victoria Theatre, Stoke), The Life of Galileo (BAC), Peter Pan (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Island Sea (Riverside Studios), Celestina (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith) and The Power and the Glory (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Film includes A Shot at Glory and Macbeth.

Television includes Scarlet and Black, The Mystery of Agatha Christie, Civil War, Taggart and The Bill.

Adam Harley | Bandit/Johnstone

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Love for Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Six Pictures of Lee Miller, Bloody Poetry, The Merchant of Venice, The Relapse, Fairyland, Pericles, Hippolytus, Respectable Wedding and The Seagull (all at RADA).
Film includes Meet the Guvnors.
Television includes A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

Jack McMillan | Slugger/Renfrew

Trained at East 15 Acting School. 
Theatre includes Blue Boy (Northern Stage), Vieux Carre (King's Head Theatre and Charing Cross Theatre) and The Beggar’s Opera (Open Air Theatre, Regents Park).
Television includes River City, Doctors and The Victorians.

Ruth Milne | Lizzie/Carole/Woman's Voice

Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes Punk Rock (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Lyric Hammersmith), Beauty and the Beast (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh) and AandBC Theatre’s A Satire of the Three Estates (Linlithglow Palace).
Film includes Hallam Foe and One Night in Sutherland Hill.
Television includes Doctor Who, JCN16 and The South Bank Show.

Ross F. Sutherland | Big Danny/Lewis/Commando/Paisley/Policeman

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include I Didn’t Always Live Here.
Trained at the Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes Decky Does A Bronco (Grid Iron Theatre and the Almeida Theatre), Class Act (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Fathers and Eggs (Quicksilver Theatre), Macbeth (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton, and National Tour), Granny and the Gorilla (Unicorn Theatre), Don Juan (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), Stuart Little (Polka Theatre), Hydrocracker’s The New World Order (Brighton Festival and Barbican Festival) and Tall Stories’ The Snow Dragon (MacRobert Theatre, Stirling, and I-Theatre, Signapore).
Film includes GAMERz.
Television includes Casualty.
Radio includes The Tony Kay Scandal.

Sarah Waddell | Maggie/Maw/Woman with Archie/BarWoman/Kelly/Didi

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include State Fair.
Trained at Drama Studio London.
Theatre includes Cause Celebre (The Old Vic), The York Realist (Riverside Studios), The Full Monty (Charing Cross Theatre) and Girls Night (New Vic and National Tour).
Film includes Deadpan Valentine.
Television includes The Gym.
Radio includes Cause Celebre and Noise.

ABOUT FIGHT DIRECTOR RONIN TRAYNOR

Ronin Traynor has directed fights for over 150 productions including film, TV, musicals, opera, motion capture and numerous theatre shows in the UK and overseas, including work with Icarus Theatre Collective. Ronin has worked on SEGA's award winning Total War series (Empire, Napoleon, Shogun II, Rome II), award winning web series The Syndicate and Killzone Mercenary. Film includes Candle to Water, The Powder Room and The First Musketeer. Television includes Blue Peter and Chronicles of Syntax (web series).

THE PRESS ON THE HARD MAN AND PLAYWRIGHT TOM MCGRATH

"The hardman in this stunning new play...is John Byrne, a graduate of the Glasgow mean streets for whom violence is an art form practised for itself...Any bald summary of the play’s contents is liable to either sensationalise them or render a reviewer’s recommendation unpalatable. I can only report that I have experienced the most moving play of the year." Michael Coveney, Financial Times

"Always entertaining, often moving, and occasionally stunning" Cordelia Oliver, The Guardian

"The intervening years have brought many more portrayals of gangland thuggery, but this one still stings with its vision of unremitting violence." Mark Fisher, The Guardian

THE PRESS ON DIRECTOR MARK DOMINY

Artistically directed” Three Weeks on Oedipus – The Hour.

“A truly engrossing experience” Broadway Baby on Oedipus – The Hour.

“It’s humour, and many moments of joy truly illuminate the darkness of life on the Home Front” WeLoveBrighton on Nylons.

THE PRESS ON CURRENT PRODUCTION

“Gripping and chilling...Genuinely frightening” Timothy Bano, The Upcoming

“A visceral and gripping antidote to the smug and well worn theatre which graces so many of London’s stages.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“Compelling and powerful.” Robbie Lumsden, Bargain Theatreland

“If this production, the first in London for over 25 years, is anything to go by it has not lost any of its original power.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“An intensely physical production which shows the endless ways to brutalise another human being from skull cracking to eye gouging.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“The Finborough has to be one of the best pub theatres in London. Its stage is womb like; the audience sits within a cockpit of violence and hyper-masculinity, observing a biography of brutality from its beginnings on the streets of Glasgow to its grotesque crescendo in prison with full frontal male nudity...Truly shocking.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“Claustrophobically brutal.” Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

“A violent and thought provoking evening of theatre.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“It rams home the hard truths about life not very far away from ours, and is a hard watch. Yet sometimes theatre needs to be.” Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

“Even in its darkest moments, an incredibly uplifting work, and one that has been given here an exemplary production.” Robbie Lumsden, Bargain Theatreland

“Boyle and McGrath’s insightful writing.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“Boyle’s words clang with gritty authenticity, aided by co-writer Tom McGrath, who went to meet Boyle in prison to help frame and structure the piece.” Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

“The acting is outstanding, and this extremely well-written play leaves many hard social truths to be examined and considered.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“Martin Docherty as Byrne, Ross F Sutherland as cruel prison officer Paisley and Ross Dunsmore as a fellow prisoner offer some superb performances.” Timothy Bano, The Upcoming

“Docherty is particularly fearsome and fearless, his gaunt face and pale skin looking toughened by the biting Glaswegian cold, his clenched jaw and cold eyes making him seem very much the hard man.” Timothy Bano, The Upcoming

“Martin Docherty’s Byrne is compelling; he plays the part with all the violent menace it deserves.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“Martin Docherty as Byrne, meanwhile, is flawless. He twitches about the space, totally unpredictable to the audience. He is harrowing and traumatic to watch.” Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

“Ross Sutherland turn as Paisley, a vicious and sadistic warden, is utterly convincing.” Rahul Rose, The Public Reviews

“Ruth Milne is brilliant.” Emily Pulham, Everything Theatre

“The performances are mesmeric.” Daniel Harrison, A Younger Theatre

“Mark Dominy’s outstanding production.” Robbie Lumsden, Bargain Theatreland

TICKETS AND TIMES

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays
2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 March 2014

Sunday and Monday Evenings at 7.30pm, Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm

Performance Length: 2 and a half hours with one interval of 15 minutes.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

PLEASE NOTE THAT LATECOMERS CANNOT BE ADMITTED AND TICKETS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED OR REFUNDED.

Directed by Mark Dominy

Designed by Mike Lees

Lighting by Charlie Lucas

Sound by Max Pappenheim

Fight Direction by Ronin Traynor

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

MARTIN DOCHERTY

ROSS DUNSMORE

ADAM HARLEY

JACK MCMILLAN

RUTH MILNE

ROSS F SUTHERLAND

SARAH WADDELL