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LITTLE MADAM

The world premiere of a new play by James Graham.
Directed by Kate Wasserberg.
Designed by Alex Marker. Lighting by Tom White. Costume Design by Nell Knudsen.
Presented by Brawl in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre

Cast:
Margaret Roberts - Catherine Skinner
Roberts / Bobby Sands - James Allen
Teddy / Ted Heath / Saatchi / Al Haig / The Archbishop of Canterbury / Miner
- Ian Barritt
Susannah / Roberta / Mrs Oldfield / Doctor / Secretary / Admiral Fieldhouse /
Carol Thatcher - Leah Fells
Medwin / Polly / Mr Littlewood / And Saatchi / Francis Pym / Mark Thatcher - William McGeough
Alan / Denis / Judge / Norman Tebbitt / Banker - Simon Yadoo
Jonathan / Miss Gillies / Sir John Maynard Keynes / Cecil Parkinson / Soldier
Ronald Reagan / Electoral Administrator / Reporter - Hugo Cox

2 – 27 October 2007

The world premiere of a new play from the Finborough Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence, commissioned for the Finborough Theatre by Artistic Director Neil McPherson.

"It isn’t that I always insist on being right, father, it is that everyone else always seems to insist on being wrong!"

Margaret has been sent upstairs again. And she’s not to come down from her room above the grocer's shop in Grantham until she says sorry. But that’s all right. Because hidden in the toy chest is Teddy. And in the wardrobe is Jonathan. And under the bed is Cecil Parkinson. And so Margaret goes on a fantastical journey, transforming from the young Miss Roberts into the formidable Mrs Thatcher, in order to escape her past, reconcile her present, and prepare for her future. But will she be able to summon up the strength to apologise? And should she have to..?

An extraordinary flight of fancy through the political landscape of the late 20th Century, exploring the nature of sacrifice and the price of power as seen through the 12 year old eyes of Britain’s most divisive Prime Minister…

James Graham is Playwright-in-Residence at the Finborough Theatre. His first full length play, Coal Not Dole! (2002), based on the experiences of his local mining community, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival before touring regionally. Little Madam is James's third play commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, following Albert's Boy (2005), starring Victor Spinetti, which earned James a prestigious Pearson Award bursary, and Eden's Empire (2006) - “Gripping…a dramatic piece of living history” Michael Billington, The Guardian “Graham’s nuanced, intelligent play” Time Out. Both plays were published by Methuen. James was the Finborough Theatre’s nomination to the BBC and Royal Court’s programme for young writers, ‘The 50’, celebrating the Royal Court’s 50th anniversary. His original television comedy-drama, Caught in a Trap has been commissioned by producers Greenlit.

Kate Wasserberg is the Finborough Theatre’s Associate Director. She has directed The Representative and I Wish to Die Singing (both at the Finborough Theatre), Young Vic Schools Festival (Young Vic), Test Drive (Soho Theatre Studio) and Doing Lines (The Pleasance). Assistant Directing includes Holding Fire! (Shakespeare’s Globe), How Much Is Your Iron? (Young Vic), The Measures Taken (Sphinx Theatre Company), Passion and Politics (Young Vic), The Blue Room (Theatre Royal Bath) and Gates of Gold and The Gigli Concert (Finborough Theatre).

The cast includes Ian Barritt whose many credits include The Alchemist and The Life of Galileo (National Theatre), Separate Tables and Kes (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and The Madness of King George III (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep) Many TV credits include Life On Mars, Doctor Who and Foyle’s War. Catherine Skinner’s credits include The Crucible (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Witches (National Tour), Hay Fever (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Forward (Birmingham Rep). James Allen’s credits include Privates On Parade (New Vic Theatre) The Revenger’s Tragedy (Orange Tree), Women Laughing (Watford Palace Theatre), and Julius Caesar (Royal Exchange, Manchester).TV credits include Dream Team, EastEnders and Heartbeat. William McGeough’s credits include Marat Sade (Punchdrunk) and The Representative (Finborough Theatre). Leah Fells’ credit’s include The Picture of Dorian Grey (National Tour), Mirita (Finborough Theatre). Her many TV credits include EastEnders, Family Affairs and Casualty. Hugo Cox’s credits include Saved or Destroyed (BAC), Silverland (Arcola),The Things Good Men Do (Lyric Hammersmith) Lark Rise To Candleford and Freedom of the City (Finborough Theatre). Simon Yadoo’s credits include Dogfight (Arcola) and the feature film The Constant Gardener.

The Press on Little Madam
“Another top-drawer performance lifts a strong piece of writing into the category of a must-see event.” Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“It’s a shame that work as good as this will get overlooked in the forthcoming awards flurry.” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“James Graham...shows himself to be a young playwright of great promise.”
Alistair Smith, The Stage

“As for Graham, at only 25 his potential is undisputed.”
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“The prolific and talented James Graham, who is still only 25”
Paul Taylor, The Independent

“In his last play, Eden's Empire, 25-year-old James Graham boldly tackled the Suez crisis. Now he turns his attention to Margaret Thatcher”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“It’s a nicely surreal, thoroughly enjoyable and surprisingly affectionate portrait of one of the great figures of the 20th century.”
Alistair Smith, The Stage

“And who would have thought that the sort of fringe theatre which 10, 20 years ago would have been heaping insults on the lady would be staging James Graham’s Little Madam, which is almost as much celebration as critique?”
Benedict Nightingale, The Times

“James Graham’s new play Little Madam starts as a child’s game and ends up as a shockingly visceral theatrical kangaroo court.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“There's no way the play would have been allowed to get this far, had it even been staged, during the Eighties.” Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“But what’s interesting here is that Catherine Skinner’s Margaret is allowed to explain why she felt it necessary to tidy up an unprofitable industry. You wouldn’t have got that, or much else that justifies the Thatcher revolution, in an agitprop play”
Benedict Nightingale, The Times

“We are made to see a human, at times fragile, creature. Her meeting with Dennis is particularly touching. Played as a kind of Four Weddings and a Funeral celebration of English reticence. The point later when Dennis asks her to marry him is incredibly sweet – so much so that a couple a few rows in front of me actually snuggled into each other as couples are wont to do when watching romantic scenes.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“As Thatcher now seems in fashion again, it’s a pithy addition to the new wave of works she is inspiring.” Louis Wise, The Sunday Times

”It is the miner’s strike that Mr. Graham has been building up to…and, by God, the absolute rage that suddenly erupts on the stage is electrifying. Yet, even here, in spite of a tangible, almost quivering fury, Margaret Hilda Roberts is allowed a defence. And a cogent one. It is an impasse. Unstoppable force meeting immovable object.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“While Graham may not have any natural sympathy for Thatcher, the Prime Minister, he displays a deeply humane compassion for Margaret Roberts”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“For all its comic irreverence, the show taps into what was admirable in Britain's first woman prime minister while suggesting a personality shaped, and warped, by self-sacrifice long before Number 10.”
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“A nostalgic, accurate whip through the Thatcher years, enchanting acting and slick directing make this a play you will remember.”
Zia Trench, British Theatre Guide

“[Wasserberg’s production] manages to maintain an engaging theatricality throughout.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“What could lapse into the emptiest kind of stale satire retains its emotional ballast.”
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“The admirable Finborough Theatre”
Paul Taylor, The Independent

“The Finborough is a special theatre where such plays are nurtured and developed. The trip is always worth it to Earls Court..”
Blanche Marvin, London Theatre Reviews

“[Wasserberg’s production] is well served by an accomplished cast.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“Kate Wasserberg’s cast has plenty of energy.”
Benedict Nightingale, The Times

“An amazing cast of fine actors who enact their varied characters with such truth.”
Blanche Marvin, London Theatre Reviews

“Kate Wasserberg's fine production is cast to perfection.”
Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Excellently acted.” Louis Wise, The Sunday Times

“Catherine Skinner gives a magnificent central performance that ranges from occasional girlish giddiness to unturnable lady of iron.”
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“A revelatory central performance by Catherine Skinner.”
Alistair Smith, The Stage

“There’s an impressive performance from Catherine Skinner as Margaret Thatcher through the decades…she does the famous voice shift magnificently.””
Robert Shore, Time Out

“Catherine Skinner’s excellent performance as Margaret.”
Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods

“Catherine Skinner…a brilliant tour de force” Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Catherine Skinner captures the heroine's myopic self-certainty.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Skinner's remarkable characterisation, by turns prim, proper, difficult and decisive.”
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“Catherine Skinner who played Margaret Roberts was spellbindingly brilliant.”
Zia Trench, British Theatre Guide

“Kate Wasserberg’s production of this political parade is born aloft by Catherine Skinner’s magnificent Maggie, catching precise vocal qualities, from Midlands girl to tutored Prime Ministerial tones.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“There is staunch support in Kate Wasserberg's production from James Allen, Hugo Cox and Ian Barritt.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Ian Barritt is surely unique in having the opportunity to play Ted Heath and Teddy (alongside Saatchi, a striking miner, Al Haig and the Archbishop of Canterbury).”
Paul Taylor, The Independent

“Strong performances across the board and an innovative staging by Kate Wasserberg, utilising Alex Marker’s set - Maggie’s childhood bedroom, replete with Tory wallpaper - to maximum effect.” Alistair Smith, The Stage

“Alex Marker's endearing false-perspective design.”
Paul Taylor, The Independent

“The fluid direction becomes apparent in a perfect set with its use of mood, space and immediacy.” Blanche Marvin, London Theatre Reviews

“The tiny stage is transformed into the wonderfully warped bedroom of the even more wonderfully warped little Madam.” Zia Trench, British Theatre Guide

“A play which certainly deserves a future life.” Alistair Smith, The Stage