Tom Conti and Laurence Fox will star in the world premiere production of The Patriotic Traitor, opening at London’s Park Theatre 17 February – 19 March, with a press night on 23 February. The Patriotic Traitor is written and directed by multi-award winning Jonathan Lynn (‘Yes Minister’/’Yes, Prime Minister’/’My Cousin Vinny’/’Nuns on the Run’), with design by Georgia Lowe, lighting by Mark Howland, and sound by Andrea Cox.
Tom Conti will star as Philippe Pétain and Laurence Fox will star as Charles de Gaulle, alongside Niall Ashdown as Leon Blum / General Weygand, James Chalmers as General Le Gallet / Captain de Courcel, Ruth Gibson as Yvonne de Gaulle and Tom Mannion as Lord Halifax / Pierre Laval.
The Patriotic Traitor tells the extraordinary true story of two close friends Charles de Gaulle and Philippe Pétain, who found themselves on tragically opposing sides in World War II.
This relationship, noble, comic and absurd, changed history: Marshall Pétain, a tough, uncompromising soldier who rose through the ranks to save France in 1916 at the Battle of Verdun, and General de Gaulle, the aristocratic, academic, awkward and equally uncompromising soldier who led France to freedom when Pétain became a Nazi collaborator.
In 1945 de Gaulle had his oldest friend tried for treason. But was it as simple as it seemed? This extraordinary story is seen as Pétain waits for the verdict.
Jonathan Lynn said:
“What is a patriot? Who is a traitor? These questions are with us today, all over the world, just as much as they were in 1940. Is Edward Snowden, for instance, a traitor or a patriot? Is this simply a matter of our point of view, or are there absolute answers?
“To keep the people safe is surely the most fundamental duty of every political leader. Few people are given the opportunity to save their country. This awful responsibility fell to two giants, Philippe Petain and Charles de Gaulle – twice to Petain. This is a story of love and betrayal, and their triumph and tragedy has fascinated me for many years. I hope it fascinates you. I am fortunate to have Tom Conti and Laurence Fox to bring these two great men and monstrous egotists to life.”