Spring Season | February - May 2017


by B. S. Johnson

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 March 2017

Three short plays by B. S. Johnson

You’re Human Like the Rest of Them
Down Red Lane
Not Counting the Savages

★★★★ Broadway World

“Laughter is a weapon: all you can do is laugh, isn’t it?”

Spanning ten years of Johnson’s short yet prolific career, the evening features the first UK revival in many years of Johnson’s short plays You’re Human Like the Rest of Them and Down Red Lane, and the world stage premiere of Not Counting the Savages.

Hailed by Samuel Beckett as a ‘most gifted writer’, this is a rare opportunity to see the work of Britain’s ‘ultimate forgotten author’, one of the most irreverent, visionary voices to come out of post-war Britain.

You’re Human Like the Rest of Them is the wickedly funny portrayal of a young man facing up to the excruciating reality of the human condition. When plucky schoolmaster Haakon is sent to hospital with a minor back complaint, he finds himself in a lecture in back care alongside a cast of colourful octogenarians. Outraged by their exposure of the flaws of the human design, he returns to his own classroom a changed man, posing a new lesson of the day: what is the meaning of life? Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, Johnson’s first stage play later went on to become a ground-breaking film.

Down Red Lane was Johnson’s final work written before his early death at the age of 40. A man newly come up in the world, the Diner has found a new vocation – fine dining. Knowing only too well the weakness of his regular customer, the Waiter plies him with every temptation. Unable to resist, the Diner is seemingly intent on indulging himself to death until his angry working class body begins to fight back. It’s Man versus Belly in Johnson’s absurd tale of the consequences of indulgence and desire.

Not Counting the Savages was originally produced as a teleplay directed by Mike Newell and starring Brenda Bruce as part of the BBC’s Thirty Minute Theatre season in 1972. This production marks its world stage premiere. Wife is left traumatised by an encounter with a flasher in a local graveyard, but when she turns to her family for support, her doctor husband is indifferent, her son gets a voyeuristic kick and her daughter accuses her of overreacting. When the family conference is cut short by an emergency call from the hospital, Wife is left wondering why her husband is able to save a life, but desperately unable to save their marriage.

The run will be accompanied by the FINBOROUGHFORUM, a series of informal post-show discussions and debates, on Monday evenings: 13 and 20 March. All events are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance of the play. FINBOROUGHFORUM events will all be Twitter friendly with live tweets from @FinboroughForum. Using the hashtag #finfor, the speakers will also answer questions posed on Twitter so everyone can be included, no matter where they are in the world. The events will feature a Q&A session with Steve Johnson, discussions with academics, industry professionals and members of the cast and company.


Monday 13 March
Q&A with international best-selling author of B.S. Johnson biography Like A Fiery Elephant Jonathan Coe, and academic and co-editor of Well Done God! Julia Jordan.

Monday 20 March
Panel discussion with Carla Kingham and members of the cast.


Playwright B. S. Johnson was a novelist, film-maker, journalist and playwright and wrote extensively for stage, television and radio. His better-known novels include Albert Angelo, The Unfortunates, House Mother Normal and Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry, which went on to become a major film starring Nick Moran. Largely unknown to the wider reading public at the time of his early death in 1973, Johnson's work has since grown a cult following leading to critically acclaimed film adaptations, BBC revivals and a major reissue by Picador. A life-long enthusiast and biographer of Johnson, Jonathan Coe's 2004 Like a Fiery Elephant inspired renewed interest in Johnson's work, as did the BFI’s release of a collection of Johnson's films.


Director Carla Kingham returns to the Finborough Theatre following Vibrant 2015 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights where she directed a reading of Anti-Matter by Joy Wilkinson. Recent productions include After the Heat We Battle for the Heart (VAULT Festival), Lotty’s War (National Tour), Bi (Rich Mix Cultural Foundation), Tracey (White Bear Theatre) and No Border (Theatre503 and Oxford Playhouse) which was later commissioned for development by Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. Carla is currently Associate Director on Les Misérables at the Wermland Opera House, Sweden, and is an associate for comedy group Sleeping Trees Theatre. Carla is a Senior Reader at Theatre503, works extensively as a facilitator for organisations such as The Young Vic, Hoxton Hall, Westminster School and Artsdepot, and as a freelance dramaturg. She is currently developing a new musical with critically acclaimed band The Magnetic North, and a new play by Tallulah Brown for production in 2017.


Sarah Berger | Wife, Physiotherapist

Theatre includes Under Milk Wood (Gateway Theatre, Chester), The Tempest (Southampton Theatre), The Glass Menagerie (Belfast Theatre), Three Sisters and The Dresser (Leatherhead Theatre), Twelfth Night, Henry VIII, Measure for Measure, Golden Girls, The Time of Your Life, The Party, Poppy, The Twin Rivals, Money (Royal Shakespeare Company), Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Apollo Theatre and The Old Vic), The Common Pursuit, The Philanthropist, Plunder, Rough Justice, Look Back in Anger (West End), Killjoy (The Mill at Sonning), Walking on Water, Lulu 7, The Charming Man (Off West End), Hay Fever, Having a Ball, Dad’s Army, Star Quality, Present Laughter (Regional Tours), The Tempest and Macbeth (American Tours).
Television includes The Crucible, The Scarlet and the Black, The Green Man, An Inspector Calls, Hard Travelling, Fatherland, One by One, EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Josie, Second Thoughts, New Tricks, Doctors, Castles, and Murphy’s Law.
Sarah is the Artistic Director and Founder of So and So Arts Club.

Brian Deacon | Husband

Theatre includes The American Venus (So and So Arts Club), Dealer's Choice (New Vic Theatre), The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre), Dial M for Murder (Apollo Theatre), Brief Encounter (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), No More Aroving (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Arms and The Man and Zoo Story (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (New Shakespeare Company), Curse of The Starving Class (Royal Court Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (The Young Vic), Great and Small (Vaudeville Theatre), Madame Bovary (Palace Theatre), Exclusive Yarns (Comedy Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Leeds Playhouse), King Lear (Northcott Theatre, Exeter), Shay (Lyceum Theatre), As You Like It and Richard II (Ludlow Festival), Hedda Gabbler (Citizen’s Theatre), Benefactors (Channel Theatre Company), The Waiting Game (The Mill at Sonning), The Secret Diaries of Samuel Pepys, Emma, Jane Eyre and Othello (National Tours) and Groupie (Vienna's English Theatre).
Television includes Doctors, Emmerdale, Love and Mr Lewisham, Ghosts, The Emigrants, Lillie, Richard III, Separate Tables, Bleak House, Inappropriate Behaviour, Me and My Girl, Bugs, Family Affairs.

Reginald Edwards | Diner

Productions at the Finborough include Sommer 14 - A Dance of Death.

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Theatre includes Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors (Grand Central Theatre), King Lear (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton, and National Tour), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pride and Prejudice (Cunard Theatre), Lotty's War (National Tour), The Other Place (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Festival), The Birthday Party, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Abigail's Party, The Long Shot (Unity Theatre), Blinded by the Light, Fully House Trained (24:7 Theatre Festival) and The Zoo Story (The Bluecoat Theatre).
Film includes Sweet and Right and Tiny Ruins: Carriages.

Television includes Holby City.

Alex Griffin-Griffiths | Belly

Trained at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Ferrel and Goosebumps Alive (The Vaults), The Mystae (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), Electric Eden and Early Doors (Pleasance Pop Up Theatre), The Book Club (One Star or Less), Tuck Shop (Roundabout Theatre), Danny the Champion of the World (London Contemporary National Tour) and Tracy (White Bear Theatre). Alex was a participant in the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Film includes Bucket and The Great Unwashed.
Television includes Stella and Midnight Miracle.
Alex is an Associate Artist of Not Too Tame Theatre Company.

Emma Paetz | Rosa, Miss Hammond

Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Mephisto, The Seagull, Love for Love and The Trojan Women (Guildhall School of Music and Drama).
Emma was a participant in the 2016 Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare's Globe.
Film includes Final Girl.

Bertie Taylor-Smith | Jerry, Walter, Haakon

Trained at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes A Mad World My Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company), Tuck Shop (Arcola Theatre), PLAY 6 (Old Red Lion Theatre), Pomona (Gate Theatre), The Exclusion Zone (Southwark Playhouse), Cymbeline (Tabard Theatre), Twelfth Night, Hay Fever, The Winter’s Tale, The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Coriolanus, The Erpingham Camp, When We Are Married (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama).
Film includes 121, Us Five, and Peanuts.
Radio includes Strife.


“Inspiring… Trio of eye-opening glimpses into the surreal, provocative world of BS Johnson, meticulously performed.” Dave Hollander, The Stage

“This intimate, brief, funny show hits home.” Gary Naylor, Broadway World

“Moves with absurdist magnificence from comedy to tragedy... None is exactly a staple of the repertoire, and it would be worth the trip for novelty value alone. But as directed by Carla Kingham… this is an entertaining triple bill… There is still life left, it seems – as well as death-black humour – in the B. S. Johnson revival.” Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement

“I'm glad, after all these years, to see BS Johnson's oeuvre in the flesh, and (this is praise indeed) I left the theatre wanting to explore more of his work.” Gary Naylor, Broadway World

“Forty years on Johnson’s writing feels fresh and relevant…From the evidence of these three pieces, Johnson’s work is due a revival.” Scott Matthewman, The Reviews Hub

“Particularly relevant today.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Dark and witty.” Peter Barker, Traffic Light Theatregoer

“Funny and pointedly sad.” David Weir, London Pub Theatres

“While this triple bill’s resonances with Johnson’s better-known prose fiction will please those in the know, anyone who sees You’re Human Like the Rest of Them should recognize the vigour and invention it displays.” Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement

“Reginald Edwards is gorgeously grotesque.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Reginald Edwards and Alex Griffin-Griffiths - a duo with excellent timing that makes their exchanges very amusing.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Taylor-Smith play[s] the sinister, supercilious waiter to perfection.” Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement

“Sarah Berger is particularly powerful.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“Director Carla Kingham extracts a piquant performance from Sarah Berger.” Scott Matthewman, The Reviews Hub

“Carla Kingham directs the production with pace and energy and gets excellent support from her ensemble cast.” Gary Naylor, Broadway World


“Britain’s one-man literary avant-garde” The Telegraph

“The future of the novel depends on people like B. S. Johnson” Anthony Burgess

“This collection demonstrates the range, strength and inventiveness of his work” The Literary London Journal

“Ground-breaking…extraordinary and daring” BFI


★★★★ “Excellent direction from Carla Kingham…an unabashedly emotional piece that wears its feminist heart on its sleeve.” Exeunt

★★★★ "Inventive and brazenly original.” Metro

“An ambitious project wonderfully executed” London Theatre

★★★★★ “Expert direction by Carla Kingham…a subtle elegance” Theatre Tourist

★★★★ “Director Carla Kingham has met the challenge head-on…a magnificent job” Oxford Times


Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 March 2017

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

Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

(Group Bookings – 1 free ticket for every 10 tickets booked.)

FINBOROUGHFORUM events: Mondays, 13 and 20 March 2017.

Full booking information

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


Directed by Carla Kingham

Set and Costume Design by Rūta Irbīte

Lighting by Kieron Johnson

Sound by Max Pappenheim

Produced by Audrey Thayer

Supported by the B. S. Johnson Estate.

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