John Osborne’s 1956 classic Look Back in Anger gets a rare fringe revival at the 50-seat White Bear Theatre in Kennington, south London. The Big Boots Theatre Company production runs from 25 February to 14 March 2020, with a press night on 27 February. Time to get booking!
Look Back in Anger is a manifestation of disaffection with the stagnation of everyday life. Original “angry young man”, Jimmy Porter, disillusioned by the structures of working-class life, constantly insults his beloved but upper-class wife Alison. He balances on the verge of passion and hatred that keeps everyone alive but destroys him and everyone around.
Premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956, Look Back in Anger was the breakthrough and best-known work by British playwright John Osborne, whose other plays included The Entertainer, Epitaph for George Dillon, Inadmissible Evidence and Luther. A press release dubbed Jimmy Porter an “angry young man”, a term which also became synonymous with its author and other Royal Court playwrights of his generation whose realist, “kitchen sink” dramas broke markedly from the period’s escapist entertainment and previous theatrical conventions.
At the White Bear, the young cast is led by recent Rose Bruford graduate James D Fawcett as Jimmy Porter, with Rowan Douglas as his long-suffering wife Alison, Aaron Bennett as amiable Welsh lodger Cliff and Holly Hinton as Alison’s friend Helena. Set and costumes are by Tina Torbey and Marta Licwinko.
Look Back in Anger is directed by Polish-born actor and director and Big Boots Theatre founder Sebastia Palka. Palka has worked in theatre, film and television in a wide range of styles, roles and forms. He received a Best Director Offie Nomination for Tommy Murphy’s Holding the Man, Big Boots’ debut production, which had a critically acclaimed, sell-out run at London’s Brockley Jack Theatre in 2017: “a fascinating and compelling production” (Londontheatre1), “sensitively directed and very well acted” (Reviews Gate). Palka has written musicals and directed at the Polish Children Theatre, Syrena, in Hammersmith. His other credits include A Little Night Music, The Crucible and Great Expectations.
About Big Boots Theatre
Big Boots Theatre was founded by Sebastian Palka. Why? He explains: “I was 15 years old when I had a dream. It was about a boy wearing big boots, far too big for him. The boy felt very self-conscious about the way they looked. Wandering around the streets he was trying to hide. He did not understand that being different is a strength and that there are people out there who will appreciate us for our differences…
“In 2008 I turned that story into a screenplay for a short film. Now this story is about a boy who looks for his identity in this cruel and sometimes overwhelming world. The boy is innocent but confused and naive. He has not yet discovered the strength that lies within and that the search for happiness lies in his own hands. He is yet to recognise that he is the most valuable person in his world. It is a story of self-discovery, revelation, acceptance and the struggle to live your dreams, but most importantly, the story is about searching for freedom.
“Sometimes we are simply distracted, searching for something we think we want instead of what we really need, not realising that being who we are is ultimately what sets us free.
“These ideas have become the foundation for the Big Boots Theatre Company, and underline its mission and commitment to Equality and Diversity. We believe that being different is an asset and we want to support that by creating an environment where theatre-makers can be free to follow their dreams and true self. A place where passion, talent and commitment are respected, valued and appreciated.”
In addition to Holding the Man, Big Boots’ other productions include Living Latino (2018) and Moonlight Strangers (2019). Projects currently in the work include Balladina and Where is Tom. The company runs acting workshops for the queer migrant community together with Metro charity, supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Look Back in Anger runs from 25 February to 14 March 2020 at the White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Rd, Prince’s, London SE11 4DJ, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Sundays at 4pm. Tickets are priced £13-16. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!