The seminal British drama of the 20th century, Look Back In Anger, written by young emerging playwright John Osborne, exploded onto London’s post-war theatrical landscape in the midst of silly comedies and splashy musicals.
It took no prisoners and gave no quarter, mercilessly skewering the leftover relics of the Edwardian class system while blazing a trail for every British dramatist who followed. The play was a huge success, and spawned the term “angry young men” to describe Osborne and those of his generation who employed the harshness of realism in the theatre in contrast to the more escapist theatre that characterized the previous generation.
Osborne’s work transformed British theatre, influencing generations of playwrights including Edward Albee and Mike Leigh. He helped to make theatre artistically respected again, throwing off the formal constraints of the former generation, and turning attention once more to language, theatrical rhetoric, and emotional intensity.
He saw theatre as a weapon with which ordinary people could break down the class barriers and that he had a ‘beholden duty to kick against the pricks’. He wanted his plays to be a reminder of real pleasures and real pains.
Look Back In Anger tells the story of a love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working-class origin (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her haughty best friend (Helena). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace.
On the 60th anniversary of the original production, Red Line Productions brings Look Back In Anger to the Old Fitz stage, co-directed by acclaimed award winning director Damien Ryan and actor Lizzie Schebesta, and starring Melissa Bonne (ABC’s Janet King), Robin Goldsworthy (All My Sons), Andrew Henry (Howie The Rookie) and Chantelle Jamieson (Belleville).
John Osborne was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, whose credited for changing the face of British Theatre. His works include: The Entertainer, Epitaph for George Dillon, Luther, The Blood of the Bambergs, Inadmissible Evidence, A Patriot for Me, Hotel in Amsterdam, Time Present, West of Suez, as well as Look Back In Anger.
A successful television and screenwriter, Osborne’s screenplays include The Charge of the Light Brigade and Tom Jones – for which he won an Academy Award. He was nominated for numerous Olivier and Tony Awards, and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
John Osborne didn’t contribute to British theatre: he set off a landmine called Look Back In Anger and blew most of it up. The bits have settled back into place, of course, but it can never be the same again.” – Alan Sillitoe
Directors: Damien Ryan and Lizzie Schebesta Featuring: Robin Goldsworthy, Andrew Henry, Melissa Bonne, Chantelle Jamieson Lighting Designer: Ross Graham Sound Design: Katelyn Shaw Set Design: Jonathan Hindmarsh Costume Design: Anna Gardiner Stage Manager: Bronte Axam Producers: Red Line Productions
Look Back In Anger
Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo
Season: 19 August – 10 September 2016 (previews: 16 – 18 August)
Belvoir Downstairs Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Season: 13 – 17 September 2016
Bookings: tickets on sale soon
For more information, visit: www.oldfitztheatre.com for details.
Image: Melissa Bonne, Robin Goldsworthy, Chantelle Jamieson and Andrew Henry feature in Look Back In Anger – John Marmaras