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, with a press night on 4 August. Scroll down for rehearsal photography…
University College Hospital, London, 1949. George Orwell is in the last chapter of his life with a severe case of Tuberculosis. He still believes he has at least three novels in him so to keep his morale up he promptly proposes to friend Sonia Brownell, a 30-year-old assistant magazine editor. When Sonia learns that she is his only hope, she must decide whether to succumb to the advances of Lucien Freud or enter a platonic marriage with one of the country’s most renowned writers.
One of the show’s key themes, of public and private contrasts, will be reflected in the staging by having a built in hospital corridor behind Room 65, the hospital room where the action takes place. MRS ORWELL is directed by Proud Haddock artistic director Jimmy Walters and designed by Rebecca Brower, with lighting by Simon Gethin Thomas and music by Jeremy Warmsley.
The production returns Proud Haddock, founded by Walters and James Ahearne in 2014, to the Old Red Lion, where they had a sold-out run with A Naughty Night with Noel Coward in 2015. The company’s other productions have includes revivals of Tony Harrison’s The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus (Finborough Theatre), John Osborne’s A Subject of Scandal and Concern (Finborough Theatre) and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Saatchi Gallery).
Commenting on MRS ORWELL, Jimmy Walters said:
“As Proud Haddock moves into new writing territory, I can think of no better script to start with first than Tony Cox‘s MRS ORWELL. Orwell couldn’t be more relevant today and we will give the audience a glance into the private life of one of the most public figures of his generation. Tony’s writing dances between hilarity and poignancy and is by far the best script I’ve read in recent years. I really can’t wait for audiences to see it.”
Peter Hamilton Dyer‘s myriad stage credit for the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe and elsewhere include, most recently, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Broken Heart, The Changeling, The Comedy of Errors, Richard III (also on Broadway), Gabriel and Anne Boleyn. Cressida Bonas has recently filmed Dr Thorne and Tulip Fever, while her stage credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, Gatsby and An Evening with Lucien Freud.
In MRS ORWELL, the character of Lucien Freud is played by Edmund Digby Jones (The Crown, Cracks, Outlander). The cast also features Rosie Ede (1984 onstage, Doc Martin, Call the Midwife) and Robert Stocks (Jeeves and Wooster, Get Santa, and Orwell’s Animal Farm onstage).