My Night With Reg
was a smash hit for playwright Kevin Elyot in 1994 and proved to be just as successful when it was revived for a new generation in 2014. Kevin Elyot died that year leaving behind his final masterpiece Twilight Song
which I’m thrilled to be directing this month.
His new play contains all the qualities which have made him one of the world’s most successful and loved dramatists of gay characters and their stories. He followed Reg
with several highly acclaimed plays at the National Theatre and the Royal Court while also writing prolifically for television. He wrote many episodes of the much loved ITV series Marple
alongside independent dramas Clapham Junction
starring Luke Treadaway, Twenty Thousand Streets Beneath The Sky
starring Sally Hawkins and Christopher and his Kind
starring Matt Smith.
receives its world premiere at the Park Theatre London 12 July – 12 August this summer. It’s the story of Barry, a middle-aged single gay man living in North London with his elderly mother Isabella. In a series of magical flashbacks, the play transports us back fifty years to 1967 where we see Isabella in her mid-20s, newly married and living in the same house. The older men in the young Isabella’s family conceal secrets in their closets that turn out to be similar to those harboured by the men her son Barry meets in the present day scenes.
The elephant-in-the-room in the play is the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which passed through parliament fifty years ago this summer.
Elyot’s experience and command of the Agatha Christie style of plotting enabled him to spin a tale full of twists and turns that relentlessly reveals surprises in every scene. Hilarious and heartbreaking, the play proves how powerful our past is in the present. It effortlessly connects the ups and downs of the lives of one family who struggle with their own decisions and identities with the decisions that are made for them by the state. These tensions and consequences are felt both in the 1960s generation and in those living in the twenty-first century.
I’m delighted that our distinguished cast includes Adam Garcia who worked with Kevin twice, most recently in the film about Nijinsky, Riot at the Rite
, who plays the smouldering, sexy stranger who turns up in both time frames. Paul Higgins currently on our screens in Line of Duty
, plays the dual role of Barry in the present day scenes and his father Basil in the 1960s and Bryony Hannah, known to millions on television as a Midwife
, plays Barry’s mother and Basil’s wife Isabella. Veteran actor Hugh Ross plays their Uncle Charles and Philip Bretherton from the classic sitcom As Time Goes By
plays the family solicitor Harry.
I loved the play the moment I read it. It’s very unexpected to find a drama which so poignantly and humorously handles the potent, timeless themes of desire and denial along with half a century of gay political history in the style of a whodunit.
Twilight Song by Kevin Elyot, Park Theatre, 12 July – 12 August. For tickets click here or call the box office 020 7870 6876.
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