Spring-Summer Season 2017 | April-July 2017


by James Bridie

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 25, 26, 27 June, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 July 2017

The first London production in over 60 years

“I find most good men occupied in designing and strengthening cages. I do not like cages. I think that the few minutes between the door of the cage and the jaws of the cat make life worth living.”

Village headmaster William Gillie is killed by the furniture van coming to take away his possessions, as he is being evicted from his home when his school is closed down. He has spent his entire teaching career fighting the Education Board’s narrow idea of schooling, trying to inspire his pupils to strive for great creative lives. Having lost his school and his home and with none of his pupils quite finding the wings to fly free, his life is examined by a heavenly Procurator and Judge. For all his efforts to inspire great artistic freedom, did he actually achieve anything in his life? Or is the very act of trying and hoping enough?

Combining lovingly drawn characters with James Bridie’s trademark dry wit, this wry comedy explores the impact one individual human life can have.

Mr Gillie was first produced at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, in 1950, starring Bridie’s regular collaborator Alistair Sim; transferred to the Garrick Theatre in London for a successful West End run and was subsequently filmed by Tyrone Guthrie for the BBC.


Playwright James Bridie (the pseudonym of Dr Osborne Henry Mavor) was born in Glasgow in 1888. He studied medicine at Glasgow University. His best known works include Dr Angelus (1947), recently a huge success when rediscovered by the Finborough Theatre; Tobias and the Angel (1930); The Anatomist (1931), Tyrone Guthrie’s first London production; A Sleeping Clergyman (1933), featuring a tour de force performance by Robert Donat; The King of Nowhere (1938), starring Laurence Olivier; Mr Bolfry (1943); and Daphne Laureola (1949), a huge hit for Edith Evans and Peter Finch which ran for a year at the Wyndham's Theatre. He also wrote memoirs, adapted Ibsen, Molière and Chekhov and collaborated on three screenplays for Alfred Hitchcock: The Paradine Case (1947), Under Capricorn (1949) and Stage Fright (1950). His commitment to Scottish theatre included co-founding both the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, and the first school of drama in Scotland (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). He was also instrumental in the creation of the Edinburgh Festival, and a tireless campaigner for a National Theatre for Scotland. He died in Edinburgh in 1951.


Director Jenny Eastop is the Artistic Director and Producer of Mercurius for which she has directed The Waiting Room (Leicester Square Theatre and Above the Arts Theatre), The Alchemist, The Devil Is An Ass, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and A Trick to Catch the Old One (all at The Rose Playhouse, Bankside), Anton Chekhov’s Vaudevilles (Jermyn Street Theatre), and School for Wives (White Bear Theatre) for which she received an OffWestEnd nomination for Best Director. Jenny has also directed for companies such as Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre Studio and London New Play Festival, including the premiere of Peter Nichols’ new play So Long Life (Tobacco Factory, Bristol), Warde Street (Park Theatre) for which she received an OffWestEnd nomination for Best Director, and Henna Night (Leicester Square Theatre). Jenny has worked as Associate Director to Michael Blakemore on The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Blithe Spirit, with Angela Lansbury (Gielgud Theatre and US Tour), Embers (Duke of York’s Theatre), Democracy (National Theatre, Wyndham’s Theatre, Broadway, and Sydney Theatre Company), Afterlife (National Theatre), Three Sisters (Playhouse Theatre). Resident Direction includes working with Roger Michell on Blue/Orange (Duchess Theatre) and The Homecoming (National Theatre), and Matthew Warchus on The Devil Is an Ass (Royal Shakespeare Company).


David Bannerman | Mr Gibb

Theatre includes The Last Confession (International Tour), Copenhagen (Duchess Theatre and Theater Bamberg, Bavaria), Democracy (Wyndham's Theatre and National Theatre), End of the Rainbow (Trafalgar Studios), Uncle Vanya and The Memory of Water (Vaudeville Theatre), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Rents (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), The Sea Change and Nero and the Golden House (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Play Donkey and Entertaining Mr Sloane (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Dancing at Lughnasa and Forty Years On (Palace Theatre, Westcliff), The Old Country (National Tour), Doctor Faustus (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester) and The Office Suite (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Film includes Peter the Great, The Gospel of John and Booked.

Television includes All At No 20, Hard to Get, Invitation to a Party, The Chinese Detective, Taggart, Roughnecks, Off Peak and Between the Covers.

Radio includes The Admirable Crichton, The Piano, Different States, The Pope's Brother, Lost Fortnight, The Amazing Spider-Man, One Night in Winter and Maybe.

Andrew Cazanave Pin | Tom Donnelly

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include After October.

Trained at Arts Educational School, London.

Film includes Conscript and An Item.

Emma D’Inverno | Mrs Gillie

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Child of the Forest.
Trained at Drama Centre London.
Theatre includes Philistines, Mephisto, Troilus and Cressida and The Danton Affair (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Pilgrim (Sadler’s Wells and International Tour), Situation Vacant and The Women of Lockerbie (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Last Supper (Royal Court Theatre and National Tour), Bread and Butter (Southwark Playhouse and National Tour), Three Sisters (Birmingham Rep), Uncle Vanya (Bridge Theatre, Huddersfield), What Every Woman Knows and A Chorus of Disapproval (New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich), East Lynne (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol) and Perfect Days (Coliseum Theatre, Oldham).

Television includes The Houseman's Tale, Making News, Taggart, Drowning in the Shallow End, Rebus, Legit, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Apple Tree House.

Film includes After Life, The Blood Hunt and The Raggedy Rawney.
Radio includes The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, The Butterfly Cabinet and A Voyage of Sighs.
Emma spent three years in the rep company of the BBC World Service and has worked extensively in ADR.

She has co-produced three short contemporary films of Shakespeare’s sonnets with Tracey Childs, Jane Bertish, Lyndsey Duncan, Zoe Wanamaker, Kenneth Cranham, Nigel Lambert and the late Alan Rickman.
Emma also works as the training co-ordinator for the charity Interact Stroke Support which provides live readings to stroke patients by professional actors.

Ross Dunsmore | Procurator

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include The Hard Man.

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Theatre includes The Crucible (National Theatre of Scotland), If We Shadows (The Young Vic), The Snow Queen and Gulliver’s Travels (Clywd Theatr Cymru), The Power and the Glory (Chichester Festival Theatre), Othello (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), The Baby and The Cosmonaut (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), The Cherry Orchard (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme) and Jackets (Bush Theatre).

Film includes The Cup.
Television includes Taggart, Scarlet and Black, Civil War and The Bill.

Writing includes an MA in Film at the University of London before spending a year studying playwriting with John Burgess, former Head of New Writing at the National Theatre. One of the winners of the Scotland Short Play Award 2015, his short works for theatre have also been performed in London, Milan and New York. Milk, his first full length play, premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as their flagship production of the Edinburgh Festival 2016. Subsequently winning the Tom Erhardt Award, the play will receive its US premiere this summer.
Ross is currently on attachment and under commission to the BBC.

Caitlin Fielding | Nelly

Trained at Rose Bruford College.

Theatre includes Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Shakespeare Company)

Film includes Burgers for Breakfast.

Drew Paterson | Judge

Theatre includes Light Shining in Buckinghamshire and A Declaration from the People (National Theatre), The Trial (The Young Vic), Rise (The Old Vic Community Company), King Lear (Royal Shakespeare Company), Bloody Mary: in Service to the True God (VAULT Festival) We Too, Are Giants (Tricycle Theatre) and The Treatment (Almeida Theatre).

Drew is a member of the Young Vic Neighbourhood Theatre Company and the RADA Elders Company.

Forthcoming productions include The Last Repast (RADA Elders Company at the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, RADA).

Malcolm Rennie | Dr Watson

Productions at the Finborough theatre includes Dr Angelus.

Trained at Central School of Speech and Drama where he won the John Gielgud Scholarship and the Associated Redifussion Scholarship.

Malcolm has performed in over twenty West End productions including Catch My Soul, She Stoops to Conquer, The Good Companions, Salad Days, The Price, The Cabinet Minister, Lady Windermere's Fan, Hard Times and The Chiltern Hundreds.

Rep include seasons at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, Birmingham Rep, Bristol Old Vic, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Young Vic, The Old Vic, Chichester Festival Theatre and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
National and International Tours include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Peter Brook's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Royal Shakespeare Company).
Recent theatre includes The Rivals (Salisbury Playhouse), Amadeus (Theatre Royal York), The Barber of Seville (Bristol Old Vic) My Fair Lady (International Tour), The Sunshine Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Nostalgia (Theatre Royal Plymouth),  Come Blow Your Horn,  Great Expectations for which he was nominated for a Manchester Evening News Best Supporting Actor Award, Charley's Aunt (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Swan Song (The Print Room), and most recently, on tour and in London, the one man play Shackleton's Carpenter by Gail Louw (New Vic Productions).

Film includes Ransom, The Accountant, Now Retired and Hysteria.

Television includes four series of Mr Selfridge, Sherlock, Coronation Street, Midsomer Murders, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Highlander, Jewels, Taggart, Pride and Prejudice, King's Royal, Cloud Howe, Strathblair, The Lenny Henry Show, Sunny Stories, Monarch of the Glen, Doctors, The Bill, Losing It, Never Better, Monday Monday and The Death Penalty On Trial.

Radio includes Nicola Jonson for which he won the Sony Best Radio Actor award.

Andy Secombe | Mr Gillie

Trained at the Royal Central School of Music and Drama.

Theatre includes The Rivals and King Lear (The Old Vic), The Gingerbread Man (The Old Vic and National Tour), The Invisible Man (Vaudeville Theatre), Stags and Hens, Coriolanus, Hamlet and What a Way to Run a Revolution (The Young Vic), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera North, Leeds, and National Tour), Cabaret and Long Day’s Journey into Night (Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster), Guys and Dolls (Library Theatre, Manchester), Annie and Around the World in Eighty Days (Liverpool Playhouse), A Study in Scarlet (Greenwich Theatre), Love off the Shelf (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), Middle Aged Spread (Palace Theatre, Watford), Zorro (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Invisible Man (Theatre Royal, Stratford East and Menier Chocolate Factory), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Live (National Tour) and Darling of the Day (Union Theatre).
Film includes Star Wars The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Television includes The Legend of Robin Hood, Star Cops, Fast Forward, Five Alive, This Way Up, Executive Stress, The Bill, Casualty, Peak Practice, The Detectives.

Radio includes The Missing Hancocks, Fat Little Thing, Good Omens, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Haunted Room, Captain Bayley’s Heir and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Live.

He is also a novelist and has written five novels and a volume of memoirs.


Three OffWestEnd Award nominations

Best Female - Emma D’Inverno
Best Male - Andy Secombe
Best Director - Jenny Eastop

“A thought-provoking and witty evening...Eastop's production is warm and big-hearted, and shines a light on the importance of art and education, as well as debating what it really means to succeed in life.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“One of the most popular playwrights in the 30s and 40s, Bridie’s themes in this play about Village headmaster William Gillie are still relevant today.” Heather Jeffery, London Pub Theatres

“The Finborough, having rescued James Bridie from oblivion with its production of Dr Angelus, has turned to his last play, Mr Gillie. Not seen in London since 1950, when it enjoyed a successful West End run, and in Scotland since 1984, it is moving a study in failure and eternal optimism, about a teacher who believes all his ducklings are swans. In a way it is the other side of Emlyn Williams’ The Corn is Green where the inspiring teacher did have a swan. Williams is, of course, another forgotten playwright “rescued” by the Finborough.” Rod Dungate, Reviews Gate

“Well-worth reviving.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“A worthwhile revival…All power to the Finborough in its campaign to save Bridie’s writing from terminal neglect.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Bridie’s play still works brilliantly...All credit to the theatre for reviving the play, rescuing Bridie from oblivion.” Rod Dungate, Reviews Gate

“Mr Bridie has earned a well-deserved place in the Finborough canon of ‘rediscovered plays’.” Heather Jeffery, London Pub Theatres

“Bridie's typically sharp and sardonic writing is well served by the whole cast.” Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World

“A splendid story of failure and redemption.” Rod Dungate, Reviews Gate

“The acting in this production is superb, from Mr Gillie played by Andy Secombe to the cameo role of the Judge played by Drew Paterson.” Heather Jeffery, London Pub Theatres

“A fine performance from Emma D’Inverno.” Heather Jeffery, London Pub Theatres

“Emma D’Inverno gives an endearing and warm performance.” Rod Dungate, Reviews Gate

“D'Inverno gives a subtle, engaging performance.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Emma D’Inverno brings a sparkling complexity to the role.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“A deeply felt performance by Andy Secombe.” Rod Dungate, Reviews Gate

“Secombe's Gillie precisely catches the arrogance yet vulnerability and wilful blindness of the schoolmaster.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Played by Andy Secombe with just the right mix of benevolence and tetchiness.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Andy Secombe’s sharp, contained, conflicted Mr Gillie.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Ably played by Cazenave Pin and Caitlin Fielding.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Caitlin Fielding horribly convincing.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Malcolm Rennie played this self-indulgent and dangerous man with much pathos and humour.” Heather Jeffery, London Pub Theatres

“A gloriously bloodless performance from David Bannerman.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk

“Jenny Eastop directs with a sensitive eye and ear for the nuances and rhythms of Bridie's own quixotic style.” Alice Josephs, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Subtleties are beautifully brought to light in the detailed direction of Jenny Eastop and the playing of the eight-strong cast.” Jenny Gilbert, The Arts Desk


“A vivid, touching and memorable study of a well-meaning man” The Tatler

“The play is marked by Mr Bridie’s customary dry humour and penetrating wit” Theatre World

“The finest character study that had come his [Alistair Sim’s] way” The Times
“Mr Bridie does set out to amuse us, and in this he succeeds splendidly” The Spectator


“A splendid evening…James Bridie was once a power in the theatre, but is long forgotten and this revival at the Finborough reveals just how good he was…The Finborough’s decision to look again at Bridie is fully justified.” William Russell, Reviewsgate

“Dr Angelus deserves to be seen by a much bigger audience than its present run at the Finborough will permit.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times

“Bridie’s lost play is in fact a classic, and highly timely.” Stuart McMillan, The Upcoming


“Great credit to the show’s director Jenny Eastop” ★★★★★ LondonTheatre1 on Warde Street

“Bang on direction by Jenny Eastop” ★★★★ WhatsOnStage on Warde Street

“A very tight production” ★★★★★ LondonTheatre1 on The Devil Is An Ass

“Director Jenny Eastop tightened the tension in the air and distilled whisky-strong, plastic-melting performances” ★★★★ QX Magazine on The Waiting Room

“This production is further proof of the exceptional theatre we have in the UK” ★★★★★ The New Current on School for Wives


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 25, 26, 27 June, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 July 2017

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.

Performance Length: 2 hours 30 minutes including one interval of 15 minutes.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

Full booking information

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


Directed by Jenny Eastop

Set and Costumes by Anna Yates

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