Spring Season | February - May 2017
Caste is now completely sold out for the entire run EXCEPT for extra matinees on:-
Monday, 10 April 2017
Monday, 17 April 2017
Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, 6 April 2017 at 12 noon
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“My dear fellow, nobody’s a mistake.
He don’t exist.
A new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre to mark the 150th anniversary of T. W. Robertson’s 1867 comedy – and its first UK production in over 20 years.
1867. George D’Alroy is a soldier and the son of French nobility. Esther Eccles is a beautiful ballet dancer from a poor family. When the two fall in love, two very different families are brought together.
After George leaves to serve in India, Esther must deal with a drunken father, a sister with a fierce temper and a terrifying mother-in-law. Not knowing whether she will ever see her love again, Esther must confront the class prejudices of Victorian England, whilst coping with the chaos created by her increasingly exasperating family members…
Widely considered both as T. W. Robertson’s masterpiece and a ground-breaking milestone in British theatre, Caste was described by George Bernard Shaw as “epoch making”, whilst W. S. Gilbert said it “pointed the way for a whole new movement”, and when William Archer and Harley Granville Barker planned the programme for their proposed National Theatre, they were agreed that the mid-Victorian period should be "inevitably represented by its one masterpiece, Caste.”
Playwright T.W. Robertson (1829-1871) was a theatrical revolutionary. His works include Society (1865), Ours (1866) which was revived at the Finborough Theatre in 2007 for the first time in over a century, Play (1868), Progress (1869), School (1869), Birth (1870), M.P. (1870) and War (1871). Robertson was the first playwright to treat contemporary British subjects in realistic settings, and also directed his own work. Many of his most successful works were produced for the management team of Squire Bancroft and his wife Marie – buried just minutes from the Finborough Theatre in Brompton Cemetery – who were instrumental in creating the West End theatre that we know today with their innovations in the fields of stage design, theatre decoration, ensemble acting and long runs of single plays, with matinee performances. Robertson was a huge influence on later theatre makers including Arthur Pinero, who based the character of Tom Wrench in Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ on Robertson; and W.S. Gilbert, who said that “I look upon stage management [i.e. theatre direction], as now understood, as having been absolutely invented by him.”
Director Charlotte Peters is currently Resident Director on An Inspector Calls in the West End. Direction includes By My Strength, Jog On (Frederick’s Place Theatre), Constellations (Bread and Roses Theatre), Dram (Old Red Lion Theatre), Bark (53two), How To Make Money From Art (Phoenix Artist Club), Fame (Tallink Silja, Scandinavia), Interval (Camden People’s Theatre), And The Little One Said… (Cock Tavern) and Art and What The Butler Saw (Edinburgh Festival). Charlotte has worked as Assistant Director with Steve Marmion on Only The Brave (Soho Theatre and Wales Millennium Centre) and I’m Not Here Right Now (Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), and for Steven Blakeley on Aladdin and Jack and the Beanstalk (Theatre Royal Windsor). As Associate Director, she has worked with Alastair Whatley on Birdsong and The Private Ear / The Public Eye (National Tour) and Iqbal Khan on The Importance of Being Earnest – The Musical (Theatre Royal Windsor).
Paul Bradley | Eccles
Theatre includes Journey's End (Comedy Theatre), Noises Off (Piccadilly Theatre), The Relapse (National Theatre) The Threesome (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Pirates Of Penzance and Twelfth Night (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park), Much Ado About Nothing, Bulldog Drummond, Around The World in 80 Days (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), Charley's Aunt (York Theatre Royal), Romeo and Juliet (The Young Vic), Dead Sheep (UK Tour) as well as repertory seasons at Manchester University and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
Film includes playing Yehuda Zsiskind in Multi Academy Award and BAFTA winning film, The Pianist.
Television includes playing Professor Elliot Hope for ten years in Holby City and Nigel Bates in EastEnders for six, Bradley (his own childrens' TV show), Bottom, Smith and Jones, Birth Marriages and Deaths, The Kate Robbins Show, Stop That Laughing At The Back, The Young Ones, Murder Most Horrid, Boon, Comic Strip and C.U Byrne.
Paul sings and plays guitar and sellotape in the twenty-five year old band the hKippers.
Neil Chinneck | Sam Gerridge
Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes Handbagged (Vaudeville Theatre), A Clockwork Orange (Soho Theatre and International Tour), Spitting Image (King's Head Theatre), The Rules (Theatre503 and Edinburgh Festival), A Killing in Kintyre (Arcola Theatre), The Cow Play (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Edinburgh Festival), More Light (Rose Playhouse, Bankside) and Oliver Twist (Lion and Unicorn Theatre).
Film includes Putting on the Dish.
Television includes Murder Maps.
Rebecca Collingwood | Polly Eccles
Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Widowers’ Houses (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond).
Isabella Marshall | Esther Eccles
Trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well and Cinderella: A Fairytale (The Tobacco Factory, Bristol), Peter Pan, Dancing at Lughnasa, She Stoops To Conquer, An Inspector Calls and Vincent In Brixton (Theatre By The Lake, Keswick) and Flowers of the Field (White Bear Theatre).
Television includes Grantchester.
Duncan Moore | George d’Alroy
Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes The Nine O’Clock Service and The Green Quilt (Theatre503), Inside Out Festival (The Curve, Leicester), Political Pageantry (Old Red Lion Theatre) and A Yorkshire Tragedy (White Bear Theatre).
Susan Penhaligon | Marquise de St.Maur
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Martine and Hindle Wakes.
Trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes The Real Thing (Strand Theatre), Three Sisters (Albery Theatre), The Mysterious Mr Love and The Maintenance Man (Harold Pinter Theatre), Dangerous Corner (Whitehall Theatre and National Tour), Of Mice and Men (Mermaid Theatre), Rehearsal for Murder, And Then There Were None, All Creatures Great And Small, 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 (National 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), Romeo and Juliet (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Misery (King’s Head Theatre).
Film includes 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, Citizen Versus Kane and Say You Love Me.
Television includes Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Casualty, Wycliffe, Doctors and Doctor Who. Susan 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 also played the regular role of Jean Hope in Emmerdale.
Writing includes a first novel, For the Love of Angel.
Ben Starr | Captain Hawtree
Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Stop! (Trafalgar Studios) and Yellow Face (Park Theatre and National Theatre).
Television includes Jamestown, Dickensian, Casualty, The Musketeers and Father Brown.
Film includes Pursuit and Survivor.
★★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ The Stage
“Eminently worth reviving….Writing in 1923, the critic William Archer said Robertson’s play “would certainly be included in the repertory of a National Theatre”. As so often, however, it is the fringe that keeps our theatrical past alive.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“A very enjoyable hour and forty five minutes which never descends, as it so easily could in less skilful hands, into parody.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatre Goer
“Caste deserves a much longer run than its brief season at the Finborough.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times
“They have, without a doubt, ‘a hit. A palpable hit’, on their hands.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“An exquisite little shimmering gem to delight the discerning playgoer.” Peter Yates, Londontheatre1
“Having resurrected Ours in 2007, the Finborough Theatre now stages a rare revival of his masterpiece Caste – a comedy-drama about social class where the humour still sparkles 150 years after its premiere in Charlotte Peters’ entertaining production.” Neil Dowden, The Stage
“Hilarious by any standards, ancient or modern, suggesting that maybe even Queen Victoria herself would have cracked a smile.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“If Caste doesn’t get a transfer there really is no justice in the Theatrical firmament.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Robertson’s comedy targets pomposity and hypocrisy so that, even if specific details in his play have changed beyond recognition, the underlying humour remains intact with age.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Where Robertson scores so heavily is not just in the comedy-which he does with tremendous aplomb- but in the naturalistic realism that he gives his characters and settings. It really is no wonder that many Victorians regarded him as the ‘father’ of modern drama.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Strong performances.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Four delightfully comic cameo performances.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Paul Bradley goes gleefully over the top as the seedy Eccles.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Paul Bradley as Eccles does a wonderful job. He is not just a drunkard with a harsh tongue but an inebriate with a conscience. He finds every nuance. It’s a tremendously detailed performance.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Paul Bradley’s unashamedly coarse, scrounging Eccles and Susan Penhaligon’s eccentrically haughty Marquise bring much colour.” Neil Dowden, The Stage
“Susan Penhaligon, sneering and grimacing as the Marquise, gives us a battle axe who could easily survive 15 rounds with Lady Bracknell.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Susan Penhaligon … a model of disdainful hauteur.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Susan Penhaligon’s marquise is a mama even more snobbish than Lady Bracknell.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times
“Susan Penhaligon is simply wonderful.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Rebecca Collingwood is effervescent as Esther’s spirited sister Polly.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Rebecca Collingwood as Polly, effervescent and endearing.” Peter Yates, Londontheatre1
“Rebecca Collingwood is an exuberant soubrette.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times
“Rebecca Collingwood as Polly Eccles really stands out.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Rebecca Collingwood gives a scene-stealing performance as Esther’s spirited, theatrical younger sister Polly.” Neil Dowden, The Stage
“Played with discreet charm by Isabella Marshall”. Peter Yates, Londontheatre1
“Neil Chinneck is excellent.” Peter Yates, Londontheatre1
“A deft seven-strong ensemble including Neil Chinneck, Ben Starr and, especially, Rebecca Collingwood as our strait-laced heroine’s mischievous sister.” Donald Hutera, The Times
“Charlotte Peters’ bubbling revival.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“Charlotte Peters directs a nicely paced production which takes seriously the social issues without stinting on the laughs deliberately threaded in by playwright.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatre Goer
“Charlotte Peters’ production … astutely combines realism with theatricality” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Georgia de Grey’s simple set design leaves the stage uncluttered and eye-catching costumes give the production the perfect period flavour.” Stephen Bates, The Reviews Hub
“The Finborough Theatre in Fulham is an absolute powerhouse…It’s currently being led by Neil McPherson. It specialises in thought provoking text based work. Its reputation goes before it. Deservedly so.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
“Over the last decade the Finborough, under Neil McPherson’s astute stewardship, has garnered a richly deserved reputation for producing in-house, and hosting, revivals of long-forgotten and often overlooked plays that add eclectic depth to the contemporary dramatic canon.” Peter Yates, Londontheatre1
“It is time the National Theatre revived a play by Tom Robertson. If it were not for Neil McPherson, artistic director of the Finborough Theatre, there would have been no opportunities to see his plays recently.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times
“The Finborough Theatre has done it again. They have re-discovered (and dare I say it re-imagined) this wonderful play.” Richard Braine, London Pub Theatres
★★★★ Time Out and Time Out Critics’ Choice
"More than an object of archaeological interest…A thoroughly entertaining, gripping play." Mark Ravenhill, Night Waves, Radio 3 "A little gem of Victorian theatre…Wonderfully witty dialogue." Sandra Giorgetti, British Theatre Guide "Robertson set the pattern for the 'modern' play. This is the template for naturalistic British theatre before the 'in-yer-face' brigade…I am amazed at just how modern it seems." Howard Loxton, Rogues and Vagabonds "Revolutionary realism…Like most mid-Victorian dramatists, Robertson is a neglected figure today. Judging by Ours, that's a pity." Robert Shore, Time Out
“Through the direction of Peters…we're privy to a piece of compelling theatre…this one-woman show has all the ingredients of an irresistible tale” ★★★★★ Female Arts on By My Strength.
"So lively and engaging that this 80-minute play seems soon over, though it has packed a lot in... a fluid production that constantly refocuses attention and always sustains interest." British Theatre Guide on By My Strength
“Wonderfully snappy, pacey scenes – a joy to watch...The direction and production here are top class” ★★★★ Fringe Review on And The Little One Said…
“A resonating version…The laughs come thick and fast.” ★★★★ British Theatre Guide on Art“Expertly directed…with a masterful command.” ★★★★ Three Weeks on Art
Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm.
Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.
Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.
Tickets £18, £16 concessions