A story of alleged Soviet spies, treason and a political witch hunt… Joe Harmston directs a timely revival of James Phillips’ multi award-winning play The Rubenstein Kiss in the new year.
The first London production since its 2005 premiere, The Rubenstein Kiss will have a limited four-week season at Southwark Playhouse from 14 March to 13 April 2019, with a press night on 18 March. It’s presented by Devil You Know Theatre Company.
1953. In the midst of the Cold War and with McCarthyism at its height, the world watched as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for allegedly passing US atomic secrets to the Russians. They protested their innocence to the last.
James Phillips‘ multi award-winning play The Rubenstein Kiss is inspired by this haunting true story and is the study of conspiracy, betrayal and the interrogation of guilt. The semi-fictionalised Rubensteins are a deeply devoted Jewish couple whose Communist idealism leads to their word being torn apart by suspicion and treachery, which then echoes through the generations.
“Every day you fight, you fight always and every day, even those battles you can’t win and then, only then the world changes”
The Rubenstein Kiss was first seen at Hampstead Theatre in 2005, when it won the John Whiting Award and the TMA Award for Best New Play. The premiere production, directed by Phillips himself, starred Will Keen and Samantha Bond as the couple and Gary Kemp as an FBI agent. Casting for this first London revival is still to be announced.
Joe Harmston, who helms the new Devil You Know production, has directed over 100 productions in London’s West End, various regional theatres including Chichester Festival Theatre and Belgrade Theatre Coventry, as well as multiple No.1 UK and international tours. Career highlights have included his productions of Pinter’s The Lover and The Collection at the Donmar Warehouse starring Harold Pinter himself. His other West End credits include The Birthday Party, A Talent to Amuse and Wait Until Dark. He was nominated for Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards for his 2012 production of Strindberg’s The Father at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
James Phillips said:
“I’m incredibly excited to see Joe Harmston’s new production of The Rubenstein Kiss. Our current, dangerous, fraught political moment – where so many are trying again to test the limits of political idealism, where we read daily of Russian agents in this country and in the United States – seems a perfect time to revive the play.”
For this new production, Harmston will work with two of his frequent creative collaborations: set designer Sean Cavanagh and sound designer Matthew Bugg. Casting is by Kate Plantin CDG.
The Rubenstein Kiss runs 14 March to 13 April 2019 at Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD. Performances are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with Tuesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £22 (concessions £18). £12 Early Bird Tickets available for a limited time only (use promo code ‘EARLYRK’). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!!
About Devil You Know
Devil You Know Theatre is dedicated to creating innovative and exciting work with teams of the highest quality. The company launched in 2017 with a critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, set in a dystopian future and staged at the Bussey Building in Peckham.
“With exciting re-imaginings of modern and classical plays, we seek to make brave choices in our work, utilising cutting-edge techniques and approaches to ensure our productions are always thrilling, visceral and current. We also seek to provide equal and fair opportunities to emerging artists as well as seasoned professionals.”
Playwright James Phillips‘ first staged play, The Little Fir Tree, was commissioned by and performed, under his direction, at the Sheffield Crucible in 2004. In addition to The Rubenstein Kiss, his other work includes” Hidden in the Sand (Trafalgar Studios), McQueen (St James Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket), City Stories (St James Theatre and 59E59 Theaters, New York) and Flood, which premiered as part of Hull UK City of Culture in 2017.
Director Joe Harmston directing career began in 1993 with the critically acclaimed King James’ Ear at the Old Red Lion. Since then, he has directed over 100 productions around the world and forged associations with some of British theatre’s most significant voices including Harold Pinter, Ronald Harwood, Michael Frayn, Trevor Nunn, Peter Hall, Peter Ustinov and Bill Kenwright. Highlights of his career have been The Lover and The Collection, which he directed at the Donmar Warehouse starring their writer Harold Pinter. Joe’s other West End credits include Wait Until Dark, A Talent to Amuse and The Birthday Party. He was nominated Best Director for his ‘riveting reassessment’ of Strindberg’s The Father at Coventry Belgrade Theatre, starring Olivier Award winners Joe Dixon and Katy Stephens, and written by Laurie Slade. His other regional theatre work includes: The Prodigals (Edinburgh Festival & Belgrade Theatre Coventry), The Handyman (starring Timothy West), Quartet (starring Timothy West), A String of Pearls, Beethoven’s Tenth, The Craft of Comedy (Chichester Festival Theatre), Sleuth, Lark Rise to Candleford, The Blue Room (No.1 UK Tour). His other Off-West End work includes The Trial of Jane Fonda and The Dead Wait (The Park Theatre) and Joe & I (King’s Head).
Set designer Sean Cavanagh‘s credits with Harmston include, most recently, The Handyman, The Trial of Jane Fonda and Octopus Soup. He has designed over 450 theatre productions throughout the UK and abroad over a 45-year career. He was head of theatre design at Theatre Royal Plymouth and was nominated as Designer of the Year in 1994 for his design for Of Mice and Men. Sean’s extensive London’s West End credits include The Tempest (Wyndham’s Theatre), Of Mice And Men (Mermaid theatre) and Visiting Mr Green (Trafalgar Studios). His other recent regional theatre work includes Dracula (tour) and The Prodigals (Coventry Belgrade).
Sound designer Matthew Bugg and Harmston have also collaborated on multiple productions including The Father (Coventry Belgrade) and The Handyman. Matthew’s extensive and varied West End credits include Volcano (Composer/Sound Designer), Three Men in a Boat (Choreography) and The Secret of Sherlock Holmes (Composer/Sound Designer). He has worked on multiple regional theatre productions and No.1 tours including Northanger Abbey (Salisbury Playhouse and tour), Uncle Vanya, The Duchess of Malfi and The Trial of Don Juan (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Mojo (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and Kindertransport and Go Back for Murder (No.1 UK tours).