Winter 2013-14 | December 2013 - February 2014


by R. C. Sherriff

Tuesday, 26 November – Saturday, 21 December 2013

The first production in sixty years


Transfers to Jermyn Street Theatre from 4-22 February 2014

“There have been strange rumours about this house. Although it was in a state of ruin, lights were seen in the windows every Christmas Eve: music was heard: voices and laughter...”

With a superlative cast led by Aden Gillett (Winner of the OffWestEnd Award for Best Actor for Accolade at the Finborough Theatre) and Benjamin Whitrow.

Christmas Eve, 1951. As Britain rebuilds itself after the war, John Greenwood has it all – a successful business, a beautiful house and an aristocratic wife. But as he bids farewell to the guests leaving his annual Christmas party, a gust of wind slams the front door shut, starting a chain of events that makes him doubt everything he has ever known...

From the writer of one of the 20th century's most acclaimed plays, Journey’s End, The White Carnation is a ghostly tale of one man’s chance to do things differently. This rediscovery marks the first production since its premiere, starring Sir Ralph Richardson, in 1953.


Playwright R. C. Sherriff was born in 1896, and remains best known for his classic First World War masterpiece, Journey’s End, recently revived for a long run in the West End – “Recent revivals have suggested that Sherriff’s drama remains as hard-hitting and fresh as ever” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian. His many screenplays include The Invisible Man (1933), The Four Feathers (1939), the Oscar-nominated Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) and The Dam Busters (1955). Though Journey’s End continued to define his career in the theatre, the post-Second World War period was an ‘Indian summer’ for Sherriff with productions of Miss Mabel (1948), Home at Seven (1950) and The Long Sunset (1955). He died in 1975.


Director Knight Mantell's recent production of The Art of Concealment received rave reviews at the Jermyn Street Theatre before transferring to the Riverside Studios last year. Other directing includes Sweet Pounds of Flesh (Arts Theatre), Murder in the Cathedral, The Circle, The Importance of Being Earnest, Blithe Spirit, Side by Side by Sondheim and Pygmalion (Salisbury Playhouse), Sleeping it Off (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), The Dresser and The Rivals (National Tours) and Hay Fever, Time and Time Again, The Secretary Bird, The Browning Version and Misalliance (Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead).


The Press on 'The Art of Concealment'

“Directed with sensitivity by Knight Mantell” ★★★★★ Five Stars, Tim Walker, The Telegraph

“Deftly directed by Knight Mantell… extraordinarily powerful” ★★★★ Four Stars, Paul Taylor, The Independent

“The results are poignant and occasionally very funny… in Knight Mantell’s unfussy production” Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard

“A well-made and sensitive play, well served in Knight Mantell’s production” Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times


“Extremely and touchingly human...moments of great amusement and considerable emotion.” Harold Hobson, The Sunday Times

“Mr Sherriff...delights in mingling the fantastic and the matter-of-course, small-town verisimilitude with signs-and-wonders.” J. C. Trewin, Illustrated London News


Robert Benfield | Mr. Gurney

Trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre includes Chicken Soup with Barley (Nottingham Playhouse and Tricycle Theatre), The Families of Lockerbie, Blithe Spirit and The Importance of Being Earnest (Nottingham Playhouse), The Story of Vasco, Overboard, Summer Again, Macbeth, The Mob, Saint’s Day, Engaged and Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Pythagoras (Birmingham Rep), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Hamlet, The Norman Conquests, Treats, The Atheist’s Tragedy and What the Butler Saw (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Death in Leicester, Bond’s Lear and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Everyman Theatre, Liverpool),The Clandestine Marriage, Love in a Maze and Hobson’s Choice (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Death of a Salesman (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and Hong Kong Arts Festival), Having a Lovely Time, All Together Now and The Game Hunter (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Pravda, The Comedy of Errors, Racing Demon, Rattle of a Simple Man, The Three Sisters, On Approval, The Pickwick Papers, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Neville’s Island, Twelfth Night and The Elephant Man (Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich),The Bacchae and Blood Wedding (Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton),The Seagull (UK Tour) and The Relapse and Charley’s Aunt (Cambridge Theatre Company). Film includes The Line, Pipe Up, Lees Miserables, The Final Shot and Tower Bridge Project. Television includes The Widower, Sherlock, Law and Order, Def 11, Doctors, Emmerdale and Funny Man. Radio includes The Screwtape Letters, The Railway Children, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ben Hur, Oliver Twist, The Secret Garden, Les Misérables, Bonhoeffer, A Christmas Carol and Under Drake’s Flag.

Daisy Boulton | Lydia Truscott

Trained at RADA. Theatre includes Measure for Measure (Almeida Theatre) and Kingdom of Earth (Rosemary Branch Theatre).

Ashley Cook | Tony Dale

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include F***ing Men (2008). Trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre includes King Lear (The Old Vic and English Touring Theatre), The Mousetrap (St. Martin’s Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Romeo and Juliet (Derby Playhouse), A Doll’s House and The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal, Lincoln), She Stoops to Conquer and The Daughter-in-Law (Perth Theatre), The Art of Concealment and How to Cook a Country (Riverside Studios), The Importance of Being Earnest (UK and Ireland Tour for London Classic Theatre),The Bootmaker’s Daughter (Brighton Festival), Love and Understanding (BAC), Stonewall (Pleasance Edinburgh and The Drill Hall), Cahoot’s Macbeth (King’s Head Theatre) and Much Ado About Nothing (Antic Disposition). Film includes A Mind of Her Own, Love in a Dangerous Time and Don Justino de Neve. Television includes The Bill, The Basil Brush Show and Patrick Hamilton: Words, Whisky and Women. Radio includes Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Bad Memories, Development, Inside the Whale, Inside Stories, Q & A, Life Class, Sharp Focus and My Turn to Make the Tea.

Lynette Edwards | Lady Mary

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Laburnum Grove (2013). Theatre includes Timon of Athens and Time and The Conways (National Theatre), Morse: House of Ghosts (UK Tour), Cards on the Table (Vaudeville Theatre), The Mousetrap (St Martin’s Theatre), Phallacy (King’s Head Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal, Lincoln), Man of the Moment, Henceforward, The Ballroom and The Parasol (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Blithe Spirit and Things We Do For Love (Northcott Theatre, Exeter), Richard III, Absurd Person Singular and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Derby Playhouse), Lady Windermere’s Fan, How Green Was My Valley, Dombey and Son, To Serve Them All My Days and My Mother Said I Never Should (Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton), Wife Begins at Forty, The Comedy of Errors, The Hollow and Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), The Anastasia File (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Outside Edge (The Mill at Sonning), One For The Road and Noises Off (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) and Pat and Margaret (Salisbury Playhouse). Film includes My Summer of Love. Television includes Doctors, Judge John Deed, Family Affairs, Losing Track, 1996, The Paradise Club and Boon. Radio includes Animal Crackers and several seasons with the BBC World Service English repertory company.

Aden Gillett | John Greenwood

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Accolade (2011). Theatre includes Our Country’s Good (UK Tour for Original Theatre Company), Alarms and Excursions (UK Tour), Next Time I’ll Sing to You (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), The Little Hut (UK Tour),The Price (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), Amongst Friends (Hampstead Theatre), Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Savoy Theatre), Betrayal (Duchess Theatre), Design for Living (Theatre Royal, Bath), Benefactors (Albery Theatre), The Doctor’s Dilemma and Noises Off (National Theatre), Suzanna Andler (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Seagull and An Inspector Calls (Royale Theatre, Broadway), Three Sisters (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch), The Ghost Train (Lyric Hammersmith), Too Clever by Half and The Tempest (Old Vic), Twelfth Night and El Cid (Donmar Warehouse), Wild Honey, Marat Sade, The Importance of Being Earnest, All's Well That Ends Well (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Great Expectations, Hay Fever, The Admirable Crichton (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester) as well as seasons for Cheek by Jowl. Film includes Tula – The Revolt, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Collusion, Shadow of the Vampire, The Winslow Boy, The Borrowers and Under the Lighthouse Dancing.
Television includes Holby City, Casualty, The Queen’s Sister, Margaret, The Impressionists, Pollyanna, Innocents, Tenth Kingdom, Silent Witness, Wonderful You, Touching Evil II, The Guinea Pig, Ivanhoe, The Vet, The House of Eliott, Silk, Ivanhoe, Midsomer Murders, Berlin Break and The Harry Enfield Show.

Harriett Hare | Cynthia Gray

Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Theatre includes The Pirates of Penzance (Theatre Royal York), Look Back in Anger (Reading Performing Arts Centre) and The York Mystery Plays (Square Peg Theatre Company). Film includes Jesus Decoded.

Josie Kidd | Lady Wallace | Mrs. Carter

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Gates of Gold (2004) and its subsequent transfer to Trafalgar Studios (2006). Trained at RADA. Theatre includes Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Glorious (Duchess Theatre and UK Tour), Present Laughter (Aldwych Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre), Stepping Out (Novello Theatre and UK Tour), Ring Round the Moon (King’s Head Theatre), See How They Run and Relative Values (Vienna’s English Theatre), Woman In Mind (Watford Palace Theatre and Wilmington, USA), Run For Your Wife and Funny Money (Oriana Theatre Company) and Birds on the Wing (Piccadilly Theatre). Film includes Shoot on Sight, Ghost Hunter and No Longer Alone. Television includes Midsomer Murders, The Invisibles, Catwalk Dogs, Life Begins, Down to Earth, Fletcher – Lives on the Box, Doctors, Hot Money, Murder in Mind, Silent Witness, Peak Practice, Wycliffe, Last of the Summer Wine, Juliet Jekyll and Harriet Hyde, Uncle Jack, London’s Burning, The Pallisers, War and Peace and Nana. Radio includes numerous radio dramas for the BBC Radio Drama Company. Pop Promos include Dream with Dizzee Rascal.

Bruce Panday | Police-Sergeant Phillips

Trained at East 15 Acting School. Theatre includes The Pied Piper (Chichester Festival Theatre), Twelfth Night (Dundee Repertory Theatre), Lennon (Astoria Theatre), Moonlight Serenade (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith) and Sweet Charity (UK Tour). Film includes Birds of Prey, Dear Alison and Man with a Fork. Television includes London’s Burning, The Bill, Crime Monthly and The Early Days.

Joss Porter | Police-Constable Thompson

Trained at RADA. This is his professional stage debut.

Benjamin Whitrow | Mr. Pendlebury

Started his career at Liverpool Playhouse, Birmingham Rep and Bristol Old Vic. He subsequently joined the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier in 1967 and worked there for seven years. Theatre includes Otherwise Engaged (Queen’s Theatre), Dirty Linen (Arts Theatre), Ten Times Table (Gielgud Theatre), Noises Off (Savoy Theatre), Passion Play and Made in Bangkok (Aldwych Theatre), Amphitryon (Wyndham’s Theatre), Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville Theatre), Home and Beauty (Prince of Wales Theatre), The Rivals, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Winter’s Tale and Henry IV (Royal Shakespeare Company),The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, The Sisterhood, Henry VIII, The Lady's Not for Burning, Mr. Panmuir and A Man for all Seasons (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Racing Demon, Wild Oats, A Little Hotel on the Side and The Invention of Love (National Theatre). Film includes Quadrophenia, A Shocking Accident, Brimstone and Treacle, Personal Services, On the Black Hill, Restoration, Chicken Run and A Man for All Seasons.
Television includes Troilus and Cressida, By George, Midsomer Murders, We Think the World of You, A Little Bit of Singing and Dancing, Tom Jones, Poirot, Hay Fever, King Lear, The Queen's Sister, On Approval, Coming Through, Inspector Morse, The Factory and Pride and Prejudice (BAFTA nomination).

Derek Wright | Dr. MacGregor

Theatre includes Lloyd George Knew My Father (Theatre Royal, Bath), The Men’s Room (Warehouse Theatre, Croydon), The Road to Nowhere (Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon), Journey’s End, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband, Dinner with the Family, The Lady from the Sea, Mr. Cinders and The Hollow (Sheringham Theatre), Rock-a-Hula Rest Home (Brighton Festival), The Circle (English Theatre, Hamburg), Charley’s Aunt, Caught in the Net, There Goes the Bride and The Case of the Frightened Lady (UK Tours), Pygmalion (Eye Theatre, Suffolk), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Landor Theatre), The Company of Strangers (Courtyard Theatre) and Quartet, No Man’s Land and The Kingfisher (Rumpus Theatre Company). Film includes Goodbye and Hello.

Philip York | Sir George Wallace | Sir Horace Duncan

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include So Great a Crime (2013).
Theatre includes Telstar (New Ambassadors Theatre), The Mousetrap (St Martin's Theatre), Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Queen’s Theatre), Danton’s Death, Lorenzaccio and The Prince of Homburg (National Theatre), Lies Have Been Told (Trafalgar Studios), Twelfth Night and Macbeth (Royal Shakespeare Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Where’s Charley? (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra and War Music (The Old Vic) and Arms and the Man, The Case of Rebellious Susan, Mary Goes First, The Making of Moo and The Charity that Began at Home (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond). Film includes Love in a Dangerous Time. Television includes Silk, Heartbeat, Rosemary and Thyme, A Touch of Frost and EastEnders.


★★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ The Public Reviews
★★★★ The Telegraph
★★★★ UK Theatre Web

“An understated masterpiece. It has deservedly been unearthed in this absolutely wonderful production.” Guy de Vito, The Upcoming

“What a neglected little treasure it proves: not life-changing, maybe, but life-affirming.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“The Finborough’s artistic policy of unearthing little known plays by established writers has once again produced a treat. It’s funny, touching and utterly bewildering, leaving you asking more questions than it answers. But there’s one question which stands out over all the others: why has this play has been left lying dormant for so long?” Nathanael Kent, The Public Reviews

“A weirdly whimsical ghost story – almost Faust in reverse – resonating with the loss and anxiety that coloured the war years and their aftermath.” Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

“This revival – the first in sixty years – of The White Carnation written a quarter of a century after his big theatrical hit, is an intrigue more than anything. And, rather pleasurably, it proves to be something far more than just a museum piece.” Nathanael Kent, The Public Reviews

“The Finborough has been making some remarkable rediscoveries's certainly an unusual and imaginative choice for a seasonal surprise...The play's a sort of haunting, combining elements of J B Priestley and J M Barrie.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“RC Sherriff is remembered today for his trench dugout drama Journey’s End – one of the enduring masterpieces of 20th-century realist theatre, and one which will doubtless re-emerge as movingly and truthfully as ever during next year’s centenary of the First World War. But Sherriff wasn’t a one-hit wonder.” Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

“R.C. Sherriff is not known for much beyond his 1928 magnum opus Journey’s End, but the Finborough Theatre has here unearthed a play that not only matches its heartfelt portrayal of war yet also exceeds it in terms of writing and allegory.” Guy de Vito, The Upcoming

“Aden Gillett is superb.” Nathanael Kent, The Public Reviews

“Gillett is disarmingly likeable as Greenwood.” Lauren Mooney, Exeunt

“Aden Gillett inhabits Greenwood with a mixture of spirited charm and poignant exasperation.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“Aden Gillett has a corporeal solidity that contrasts nicely with the hero's spectral status.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“A peach of a performance from Benjamin Whitrow as a dithery vicar whose first instinct, on meeting a ghost, is to ask if he is Church of England.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“A beautifully bumbling Benjamin Whitrow.” Sandra Lawson, Plays To See

“A delightful cameo by a furrow-browed, ever assuaging Benjamin Whitrow.” Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

“A fantastic turn from Benjamin Whitrow.” Lauren Mooney, Exeunt

“Philip York proves an ideal comic foil as the pompous man from the Home Office.” Gerald Berkowitz, Theatreguide London

“Knight Mantell’s production serving-up ace performances from Philip York as a splenetic Home Office bureaucrat outraged at Greenwood’s ghostly lack of procedural decorum and Benjamin Whitrow as a superb bumbling cleric.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“There’s superb support from, among others, Robert Benfield as the sternly no-nonsense coroner, Benjamin Whitrow as a well-meaning but clueless vicar and Daisy Boulton as a sweet uncalled-for companion.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“Beautifully rendered by a cast that is almost as big as the audience – with a masterful performance by Gillett. Benjamin Whitrow playing the vicar Mr Pendlebury, and Daisy Boulton playing the spectral loving librarian Lydia Truscott, also deserve special praise.” Guy de Vito, The Upcoming

“It’s constantly compelling stuff, thanks in part to a crack cast under the direction of Knight Mantell.” Nathanael Kent, The Public Reviews

“Knight Mantell's perky and very well cast production.” Orlando Weston, UK Theatre Web

“Knight Mantell's production proves a quirky hit.” Partially Obstructed View

“Alex Marker...comes up with a stunning set.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Alex Marker’s wonderful and ingenious design.” Orlando Weston, UK Theatre Web

“Should this become a West End revenant? At the very least it deserves to flit about on tour.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph


Tuesday, 26 November – Saturday, 21 December 2013

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 7 December 2013).

Performance Length: Approximately 2 hours with one interval of 15 minutes.

26 November - 8 December 2013

Tickets £16, £14 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.
Previews (26 and 27 November) £12 all seats.

£10 tickets for Under 30's for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 30 November 2013 when booked online only.

10-21 December 2013

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Saturday evenings £18 all seats. 

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


Directed by Knight Mantell

Designed by Alex Marker

Lighting by Peter Harrison

Costume Design by Janet Hudson-Holt

Sound Design by Lucinda Mason Brown

Original Composition by Lucinda Mason Brown

Presented by Troupe in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre