The Roundabout is currently wowing audiences at London’s Park Theatre and will be staying there until 24 September 2016. I spoke to director Hugh Ross about the production and found out how the space lends itself to the piece.
Thank you so much for chatting to Break A Leg, Hugh. So what was your vision for the piece when you took on the role of director?
I wanted to do the play as truthfully and faithfully as JB Priestley intended it to be. I said to Priestley’s agent that I had no intention of setting it in a fairground just because it’s called The Roundabout. I believe that, as director, I should put across what the writer is trying to get across rather than having a vision or concept of my own.
Were you particularly familiar with Priestley’s work?
My father was a doctor, artist and playwright, he left behind many books, among them was a collection of J.B. Priestley essays and short stories. The Roundabout was in the collection and it had only been recorded once, in 1932. Jez Bond said I should arrange a reading of it at Park Theatre, which I did and then he said to go ahead with it and for me to direct it.
How do you feel that the space lends itself to the piece?
Really well. Polly Sullivan, who designed it, has done a brilliant job. At the Park Theatre, there’s nothing you can do about the back wall, so instead of setting the play in the Drawing Room of a great house, it’s set in the Conservatory. It’s a beautiful theatre, lovely, open and airy and with the lighting it looks really nice.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and see the play?
As the autumn comes in it’s a nice, witty, funny and entertaining piece to see and it gives you something to think about. It works on lots of levels and hopefully people will come out smiling which is a really nice thing.
Thanks to Hugh for chatting with me, it was a real pleasure. I look forward to watching the piece.