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From the novel by George du Maurier.
Adapted by Paul Potter and Herbert Beerbohm Tree.
Directed by David Cottis.
Designed by Simon Bejer.
Lighting Design by Ben Turnbull.
Sound Design by Eleonora Almeida.
Presented by Instant Classics in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre
Cast includes: Rebecca Brewer. Giles Cooper. Jack Klaff. Emil Lager. Jonathan Laury. Kate Lock. Christopher Morgan. Caroline Lena Olsson. Naoufal Ousellam. James Robinson. Jon Shaw. Imogen Vinden-North.
The first London production of the classic Victorian melodrama in sixty years, starring Jack Klaff as Svengali.
Part of RediscoveriesUK – A three month season of rediscovered plays by writers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Sundays and Mondays, 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 December 2010
THIS PRODUCTION COMPLETELY SOLD OUT FOR THE ENTIRE RUN
A classic Victorian melodrama for Christmas, one of the greatest theatrical sensations of the nineteenth century and the play that introduced the character Svengali to the world, in its first London revival since 1950.
In the Latin Quarter of fin de siècle Paris, three young British painters live the Bohemian life, united by their hopeless love for the beautiful model Trilby O’Ferrall. But their love is shared by the sinister Svengali, who believes that his powers of hypnotism can transform the tone-deaf Trilby into the greatest opera singer in the world…
A smash hit from its first appearance as a novel in 1894 and as a play a year later, Trilby created the iconic character of Svengali, played on stage in a barnstorming performance by Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and on film by John Barrymore, Donald Wolfit and Alan Badel. The play was one of the first great successes of modern merchandising, lending its name not just to the hat worn by its heroine, but to parties, songs, china figurines, brands of soap, toothpastes and even a city in Florida.
Jack Klaff plays Svengali. At the Finborough Theatre, Jack appeared in The Representative (2006), was the host for the discussion series, the Finborough Forum (2007) and appeared in his acclaimed one man show, Nagging Doubt (2010).
He has played a wide range of classical and modern parts in the West End, at the Royal Shakespeare Company and in premier venues throughout Britain and abroad. Other theatre credits include Henry VI, Son of Light, As You Like It, Tamburlaine (Royal Shakespeare Company), Othello, Troilus and Cressida, Donkey’s Years, I’m Not Rappaport (Bristol Old Vic), Map of the Heart (Shakespeare’s Globe), Insignificance (Donmar Warehouse) and as Michael Mansfield, QC in Stockwell (Tricycle Theatre). Film includes Star Wars, For Your Eyes Only, King David, Pasternak, Olga, 1871 and Ten Pence. He has over 150 television credits, including Vanity Fair, Ruth Rendell’s Road Rage and his own works. His latest radio performance was the Book of the Week – Last Resort and he has received two Sony Silver certificates.
Jack Klaff has written and performed twelve solo works which have been performed and broadcast internationally. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent and Vogue and has presented on BBC Radio, LBC, BBC Four TV, Discovery and Granada. He has rewritten his theatrical show, The Whole Shebang as a book and he is also the author of Bluff Your Way in the Quantum Universe. Theatrical works he has written include The Cuddles Trilogy, Kafka, The Fifty Minute Hour, Bosom Buddies, Three-Five-Silly-Twerp and verses for The Shakespeare Revue. He has won two Fringe Firsts, the Jack Hargreaves Award for Innovative use of TV Drama and has been nominated for a Golden Rose Award at Montreux and a Tinniswood Award for radio writing. Jack has held Visiting Professorships at Starlab, a science think tank in Brussels, and at Princeton University. He is currently working with Intelligence Squared.
Rebecca Brewer’s credits include Aspects of Love (Menier Chocolate Factory), Cinderella (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (European Ballet Company) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Derby Playhouse).
Giles Cooper’s credits include After the Dance (National Theatre), Think Global Fuck Local, Rafts and Dreams (Royal Court), The Witches (West End, Birmingham Rep, National Tour), on film The Nun, Apollo and the Continents and on television Consenting Adults.
Emil Lager’s credits include Take Me To Hollywood (Blue Elephant Theatre), Mujeres de Arena (Oval House Theatre), Alive in Wunderland (Old Chomley Boys Club), on film Hugo Cabret , Macho, and on television Skins, Londoners and Bedlam.
Jonathan Laury’s credits include The Yorkshire Tragedy (The Albany), Bugaboo (Old Red Lion Theatre), Counterfeit Skin (Courtyard Theatre), on film The Golden Compass and Colin, and on television The Two Teams Team.
Kate Lock’s credits include Captain Oates’ Left Sock (Finborough Theatre), Playgoers, The Tinkers Wedding (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Madras House, (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Don Gil of the Green Breeches (Gate Theatre), Kissing God (Hampstead Theatre), Never In My Lifetime (Soho Theatre), Tuesday’s Child which she also co-wrote (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Hay Fever (National Tour), Black Comedy, The Browning Version (Bristol Old Vic), and on television Absent Friends, Imaginary Friends, Coronation Street, Casualty and Morecambe and Wise.
Christopher Morgan’s credits include Binkie Beaumont and the Body Backstage (Theatre Museum), Richard III (Broadway Theatre, Catford), Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest (National Tours), Aladdin , Dick Whittington (Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl), on film Boudicca Bites Back and on television Snow and Pobol Y Cwm. Caroline Lena Olssen’s credits include Private Lives (Vaudeville Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath), Carmen, Don Pasquale (Royal Opera House), This Child (York Theatre Royal and National Tour), Warcrime (Theatre Underground, National and International tour), Gof (Riverside Studios), on film Children Of Men, Saphir, Love Life and on television Vanity Fair, Carmen, A Dangerous Man, Lawrence After Arabia, S’éloigner du Théâtre and Clementine.
Naoufal Ousellam’s credits include Jamie the Saxt, David Hume’s Kilt (Finborough Theatre), On A Clear Day You Can See Dover (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and Pegasus Theatre, Oxford), Asylum Monologues (Library Theatre, Sheffield), Rendition Monologues (Amnesty International), Respect (Birmingham Rep), Mums (Soho Theatre), on television Taggart, River City, Yo! Diary and on film The Devil’s Punch Bowl, Extraordinary Rendition and 16 Years of Alcohol.
James Robinson’s credits include Knives in Hens, Festen (BAC), Bonfires and Vanities (New End Theatre), Online Courting (Edinburgh Festival), Peribanez, The Man Who Came To Dinner, The Threesome, Measure For Measure, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Three Sisters (Rose Bruford College), on film Braveheart, Saxon and on television Doctors.
Jon Shaw’s credits includeThe Translators (Soho Theatre), Tosca, Don Carlo, La Fille Du Regiment, Simon Boccanegra, Romeo et Juliette (Royal Opera House), The Watcher (Pleasance Edinburgh and London), Dead Easy (Mowlem Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Open Air Theatre, Cliveden) and on screen and radio The Royal, Doctors, and I'm Not With Him.
Imogen Vinden-North’s credits include God Sports (New End Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Sound Theatre, Leicester Square), The Comedy of Errors (Fast and Loose), The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival), A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer and The House of Bernarda Alba (New Players Theatre).
Novelist George du Maurier (1834-1896) was a lead cartoonist for Punch magazine for nearly thirty years. His novels include Peter Ibbetson (1891), pioneering science fiction with The Martian (1897) and his greatest success, Trilby, which drew on his own experiences as an art student in Paris. He was originally encouraged to write fiction by his friend Henry James and their professional rivalry, occasioned by Trilby’s triumph, is the subject of the novel Author, Author by David Lodge. He was the father of the actor Gerald du Maurier, and the grandfather of the novelist Daphne.
Dramatist Paul Potter (1853-1921) was a Brighton-born journalist and playwright, working mainly in the United States. His many plays were mostly adaptations from novels or French originals including The Conquerors (1898) and his adaptation of Ouida’s sensation novel Under Two Flags (1901). Potter adapted the novel with actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917), one of the leading performers of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. His success as Svengali in Trilby (1895) enabled him to build Her Majesty’s Theatre, in which he produced increasingly elaborate stagings of Shakespeare. His other roles included Fagin in Dickens’ Oliver Twist and Professor Higgins in the 1914 premiere of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. He was knighted in 1909 and was, through one of his many illegitimate children, the grandfather of the actor Oliver Reed.
Director David Cottis returns to the Finborough Theatre following his successful productions of William Saroyan’s Sam, the Highest Jumper of Them All (Four Stars in WhatsOnStage) and Emlyn Williams’ The Druid’s Rest (“Charmingly delivered” West End Whingers), and a long career on London’s fringe including six years as Literary Manager of the Etcetera Theatre. His production of Charles Marowitz’s Caesar was named by WhatsOnStage as one of the theatrical highlights of 2009.