Was Sonia Brownell the inspiration for the character of Julia in 1984? What happened to her before and after she met and married George Orwell? Was she a gold digger or a tragic figure?
It’s not just umbrella festival programmes that keep myself and other London theatregoers busy in August. Here are some thoughts (and connections) on the other plays and musicals I’ve seen over the past week that are worth a look: Mrs Orwell, King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe, Boom and Salad Days.
Peter Hamilton Dyer and Cressida Bonas star as George Orwell and his second, much younger wife in the world premiere of Tony Cox’s MRS ORWELL, exploring the private side of one of the most public icons of the 20th century. This latest Proud Haddock production has a strictly limited season at London’s Old Red Lion Theatre from 1 to 26 August 2017. Check out the rehearsal photography here.
The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, Tony Harrison’s 1998 will either divide or conquer its audience with its intense performances and its rhyming couplets.
I failed to really research this production prior to seeing it. I waltzed in with my double G&T expecting an Edwardian drama about two Oxford dons in the Egyptian Desert I was soon surprised to get swearing, fake penises and rhyming couplets.
In 1975 Emmylou Harris might have walked all the way from Boulder to Birmingham but in 1842 a weedy, tweedy small-town teacher and small-time socialist named George Holyoake actually walked from Birmingham to Bristol to visit a friend imprisoned for publishing a journal criticising the establishment. He pauses in conservative Cheltenham to give a talk to the Chartists about migration and Poor Law reform – and because of one glancingly atheistic remark, is arrested and tried for blasphemy.