by Tony Harrison

Tuesday, 4 September – Saturday, 29 September 2018

The first UK production in nearly 30 years.

★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★ Jewish Renaissance
★★★★ North West End
★★★★ Close Up Culture
★★★★ Breaking The Fourth Wall

“You were very naïve if you could ever believe
that warfare would stop with your gun
for chemist/engineer a brand new era
of invention in war’s just begun.”

In a new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, the rediscovery of Tony Harrison’s Square Rounds in its first UK production for nearly 30 years plays at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season.

England, 1915. With all the men fighting at the Front, six women in a munitions factory have taken over the male jobs – until they go one step further, and decide to play some of the inventors of modern technological warfare themselves.

In the centenary of the last year of the First World War, an all-female cast play characters ranging from Sir Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun, to the ‘father of chemical warfare’ Fritz Haber - the German Jewish chemist whose work on poison gas would go on to be used to exterminate his own people in the Holocaust just 25 years later – in a magical epic from acclaimed poet and playwright Tony Harrison on the devastating impact of weapons of mass destruction..


Playwright Tony Harrison was born in Leeds in 1937. He has written extensively for the National Theatre, New York Metropolitan Opera, BBC, Channel 4, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and for ancient spaces in Greece, Austria and Japan. His volumes of poetry include The Loiners (Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), v. (Royal Television Society Award), The Gaze of the Gorgon (Whitbread Prize for Poetry) and Laureate's Block. His film Black Daisies for the Bride won the Prix Italia, 1994. He was awarded the PEN/Pinter Prize 2009, the European Prize for Literature 2010 and the David Cohen Prize for Literature 2015.


Director Jimmy Walters returns to the Finborough Theatre following his acclaimed productions of Tony Harrison’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus and John Osborne’s A Subject of Scandal and Concern. Other direction includes The Dog Beneath The Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre), Mrs Orwell (Old Red Lion Theatre and Southwark Playhouse), Julius Caesar (Saatchi Gallery and Chelsea Theatre), Improbable Fiction (Courtyard Theatre), A Naughty Night With Noël Coward (Old Red Lion Theatre), Hamlet (United Arab Emirates Tour and Network Theatre), I the Jury (Hen and Chickens Theatre), Breaded Butler (Troubadour) and Dear Ray (Edinburgh Festival). Assistant Direction includes Young Shakespeare Company tours of Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (Bloomsbury Theatre), Othello (Riverside Studios) and Knock Yourself Out (Courtyard Theatre).


Eva Feiler | Justus Von Liebig

Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), The Dog Beneath the Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Nothanger Abbey (National Tour), Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth (Shakespeare 400 at Royal Festival Hall), Othello and The Merchant of Venice (Royal Shakespeare Company), See What I See (Oxford Playhouse), Eldorado (Arcola Theatre) and The Winter’s Tale (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield).
Television includes Father Brown, Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, and Parkinson Masterclass: Simon Russell Beale.
Radio includes Wild Honey, Believe It! and A Small Town Murder.
Workshop includes Made in Britain.

Gracy Goldman | Clara Immerwahr

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Dream of the Dog and its subsequent transfer to Trafalgar Studios.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Richard II, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (Royal Shakespeare Company), Antony and Cleopatra (Liverpool Playhouse), The Tempest (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), Good People (English Theatre, Frankfurt), Invisible (Transport Theatre), The Winter’s Tale and Beautiful Thing (The Curve, Leicester), Great Expectations (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), You Can’t Take It With You (Southwark Playhouse) and Egusi Soup (Menagerie Theatre).
Film includes The Plant.
Television includes Sense8, Holby City, Doctors, Doctor Who, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Auf Eigene Gefahr and Meet The Adebanjos.

Rujenne Green | Sir William Crookes

Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes The Dog Beneath The Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Cookies (Theatre Royal Haymarket).
Television includes The Halycon.

Amy Marchant | Hudson Maxim/Lady Nellie Crookes

Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company USA Tour), Shakespeare in Love (Noël Coward Theatre) and To Sir With Love (Touring Consortium Theatre Company).
Film includes The Hippopotamus, Confection and Big Day.
Television includes Doctors.

Philippa Quinn | Fritz Haber

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Just To Get Married.
Trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Control (Gielgud Theatre), Because We Want To (Rose Theatre, Bankside), Pride and Prejudice and Bard on Board (National Tour), Writers Block (BAC), Random Acts of Kindness (Old Red Lion Theatre), Breathing Space (Courtyard Theatre) and Block 59 (Glastonbury Festival).

Letty Thomas | Hiram Maxim/Sweeper Mawes

Trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includesThe Divide (The Old Vic), Mary Stuart (Almeida Theatre), Men (Arcola Theatre) and Seeing Double (Camden People’s Theatre).
Film includes Uneatable.
Workshop includes Scenes With Girls (Royal Court Theatre).


“Clearly a work of genius…. It’s so brilliant you leave the theatre in a kind of exhilarated pessimism.” Boston Globe

“It would be a stony soul who didn’t salute Harrison’s reckless theatrical audacity…A stunning original piece of theatre.” The Guardian

“Let’s hand it to Tony Harrison: when it comes to taking theatrical risks, he has no rival.” The Times

“It is hard to convey the exciting strangeness of this piece…The National are right to put their faith in Harrison.” Sunday Telegraph


“A resounding success.” Jeff Prestrige, Close-Up Culture

“An epic exploration of the devastating effects of technology in the build up to the Great War.” Steve Sparrow, The Spy in the Stalls

“Compelling.” Jeff Prestrige, Close-Up Culture

“With a mix of tragedy and parody covering themes of race and ethics, this play about war and the devastating impact of chemical warfare and weapons of mass destruction has never been more timely.” Steve Sparrow, The Spy in the Stalls

“A theatrical oddity, quirky and fiercely political, which teaches and entertains in equal measure.” Anne Cox, Stage Review

“Blends science and magic, polemic and pantomime.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The play convincingly rests on its non-conformism; Harrison has always found space as an anarchist within the establishment.” Megan Roberts, Nouse

“An extraordinary play that, along with Ewan MacColl’s Uranium 235 created in 1945 for Theatre Workshop, is one of the few works to use popular techniques to explore scientific morality.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Frightening, educational, provocative, and altogether quite wonderful.” The Prickle

“Stepping out of the old Finborough theatre, you can’t help but feel changed by the magic and mayhem inside. Comic, thought provoking, and anything but conventional.” Megan Roberts, Nouse

“The resonance and implications of the birth of chemical warfare, still in use on battlefield and streets alike, are as timely now as then.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“A rich mix of a play that seems especially timely as we prepare to commemorate Armistice Day and continue to express our horror at chemical weapons.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Harrison’s use of verse and rhyming couplets introduces a musicality and, on several occasions, humour into the brutality – ensuring that the production coaxes instead of moralising.” Teddy Cutter, Military History

“Tony Harrison’s scathing verse play about the intertwining of science and war.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“Harrison’s genius is to find ways of lighting theatrical fireworks beneath this earnest material.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Harrison’s script is clever and original, composed of amusing rhymes, whimsical verses and odd songs.” Cristina Lago, Everything Theatre

“Harrison’s text cannot fail to impress.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“Harrison’s play has lost none of its edge or relevance.” Jeff Prestrige, Close-Up Culture

“Tony Harrison provides a telling learning curve.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance   

“An all-female ensemble cast skilfully bring to life a revolving door of historical figures as a mix of parody and tragedy.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“A vivid production from an all female cast, who handle the verse with considerable aplomb.” Ed Whitfield, View From The Cheap Seat

“The poetic lines are delivered with a pulse that holds your attention.” Caroline Worswick, North West End

“The actors did artful, attentive work.” Theatre Box

“The cast were able to fill the stage with flowing movements using conjuring as a form of demonstration.” Caroline Worswick, North West End

“The young actors, all clearly having a ball, occasionally burst into song. More often they are handling rhythmic verse, gleefully pointing up insistent rhymes.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“Superbly acted by an ensemble of six.” Anne Cox, Stage Review

“Exceptional performances.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Excellent cast.” Neil Dowden, The Stage

“The all-female cast is a constant reminder that had women really had a say in martial matters at that time, how different history might have turned out.” Michael Davis, Breaking the Fourth Wall

“The real strength lies in the performances by the six-strong female cast, who bring these troubled characters to life with passion and chemistry.” Cristina Lago, Everything Theatre

“A canny piece of design well incorporated into the action and reinvented in use by the cast.” Theatre Box

“The performances are endlessly delightful, combining a commitment to realism with an edge of meanness.” The Prickle

“The ensemble cast was energetic and charming, hurtling through the verse, offering a contrast between the earnestness of the characters with their historical tragedy.” Theatre Box

“Philippa Quinn’s performance stands out as buoyant Nobel Prizewinner, Fritz Haber.” Anne Cox, Stage Review

“Philippa Quinn was good as Fritz Haber, with a great feel of the off their rocker eccentric physicist going on and some really strong subtle mannerisms to aid her part.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Philipa Quinn, as Haber, delivers a compelling performance as the charismatic outsider.” Megan Roberts, Nouse

“In an all-female, six-strong cast, there is good work from Philippa Quinn as the self-deluded Haber, Gracy Goldman as his sceptical spouse and Eva Feiler as a German chemist who vivaciously argues that corpses can be used for their phosphate potential.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Stand-out, rousing performances of Gracy Goldman and Philippa Quinn arguing as German-Jewish chemists and spouses Fritz Haber and Clara Immerwahr.” Theatre Box

“Gracy Goldman did well as Haber’s real life wife Clara Immerwahr, showing some great control that balanced beautifully with Quinn’s eccentricity as Haber.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Powerfully intense Gracy Goldman.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Letty Thomas gave a great performance showing two very different aspects of her skill as an actor.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Letty Thomas makes an engaging narrator.” Anne Cox, Stage Review

“Eva Feiler was good with great energy.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Amy Marchant was very strong with a cocky swagger that well suited this part and some great control of the stage, holding the audience in the palm of her hand as she revelled in the limelight.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“Rujenne Green also did well as Sir William Crookes, with a great control.” Adam Craddock, Fairy Powered Productions

“The darkly playful tone of Jimmy Walters’s production [is] aided by movement director Depi Gorgogianni’s creative use of choreography, keeps everything moving along.” Tom Wicker, Time Out

“The direction by Jimmy Walters and acting ability of all the cast were excellent.” Caroline Worswick, North West End

“Director Jimmy Walters, whose production of Harrison's earlier more exuberant piece, The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, sold out here a couple of years ago, oversees some neat ensemble work.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“Harrison’s stabbing, satiric verse strikes the right balance between the serious and the comic and gives licence to Jimmy Walters’s expressive production to make use of magic.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Jimmy Walters’ inventive production.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Depi Gorgogianni, movement director, ensures some deft circling around the black-and-white cubes of Daisy Blower's flexible set.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“Lovely set and projection designs by Daisy Blowers and Arnim Friess respectively.” Jeff Prestrige, Close-Up Culture

“Daisy Blower’s adaptable set includes a magical toilet closet from which new characters emerge.” Neil Dowden, The Stage

“Amply fill the Finborough’s intimate space on Daisy Blower’s artfully compact set.” Judi Herman, Jewish Renaissance

“Daisy Blower’s set is uncluttered and evocative.” The Prickle

“Thoughtful sound design (Dinah Mullen) and sympathetic lighting (Arnim Friess).” Steve Sparrow, The Spy in the Stalls

“For those with a keen interest in World War One history, this is likely to be unmissable.” Steve Sparrow, The Spy in the Stalls


“In the front rank of contemporary British poets…His range is exhilarating, his clarity and technical mastery a sharp pleasure” Melvyn Bragg

“A veracious appetite for language. Brilliant, passionate, outrageous, abrasive, but also, as in the family sonnets, immeasurably tender.” Harold Pinter

“Three decades on Tony Harrison’s angry but exquisite poetry still has the power to chill.” The Guardian

“A powerful voice bursting with passion, courage and anger.” The Independent

“The first genius working-class poet England has produced this century.” Blake Morrison, London Review of Books

“A poet of great technical accomplishment whose work insists that it is speech rather than page-bound silence” The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry


“This witty inventive poem is something pretty special” Alice Saville, Time Out

“Vibrant, heartfelt and provocative enough to prompt the satyr in all of us to stamp and shout” Sam Marlowe, The Times

“Even if the mock penises in this revival tend to dangle, there is nothing limp about Jimmy Walters’ production” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Nothing limp in this blast at high art” Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

“A joy to hammer in the New Year” Sarah Hemming, Financial Times

"I loved this. I enjoyed it enormously." Saturday Review BBC Radio 4 


Tuesday, 4 September – Saturday, 29 September 2018

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturdaty Matinees at 3.00pm. (from 15 September 2018)

Performance Length: 1 hour 45 minutes including one interval of fifteen minutes.

Prices until 16 September 2018

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Previews (4 and 5 September) £14 all seats.

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

£14 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 8 September 2018 when booked online only.

Prices from 18 September 2018

Tickets £20, £18 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £18 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £20 all seats. 

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



Book Tickets for Square Rounds

Tuesday, 4 September – Saturday, 29 September 2018

Please note that if a show is marked as Sold Out, there are no more tickets available. Please do NOT contact the theatre as we have no more tickets left for these shows. Please see our returns and exchanges policy for more information.

Directed by Jimmy Walters

Set and Costume Design by Daisy Blower

Lighting Design by Arnim Friess

Music by Jeremy Warmsley

Musical Direction by Adam Gerber

Sound Design by Dinah Mullen

Movement Direction by Depi Gorgogianni

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