Anna Chancellor and Nicholas Farrell will reprise their roles in Chichester Festival Theatre’s critically acclaimed double bill South Downs and The Browning Version when it transfers to the Harold Pinter theatre this spring.
The double bill of Terrence Rattigan’s The Browning Version and David Hare’s specially commissioned companion piece South Downs will open on 24 April, following previews from 19 April, and run until 22 July.
Both plays explore life in a boarding school with the playwrights’ former educational institutions providing the backdrops. Hare’s South Downs, which is directed by Jeremy Herrin (Haunted Child, Death And The Maiden), is set in Lancing College in Sussex where a pin sharp young pupil is cut off from the rest of the school by virtue of his own intellect, background and questioning spirit. Leaving the boy isolated and confused, when an unlikely meeting with the mother of another pupil occurs, her generosity of spirit and sound advice present the boy with a world of kindness and possibility.
The Browning Version is told through the eyes of Classics master Mr Crocker-Harris, a dried-up tyrant who is facing the prospect of retirement with no money while stuck in a broken marriage. A simple act of generosity by one of Crocker-Harris’s pupils brings out a deep-rooted dignity and heartbreaking sadness that gives this play its power.
Rattigan’s one-act play is directed by Chichester Festival Theatre Associate Angus Jackson who, as well as his work at the regional venue, has directed Rocket To The Moon and The Power Of Yes at the National Theatre, and Bingo which opens at the Young Vic later this month after premiering in Chichester in 2010.
Olivier Award-nominated Chancellor, who famously played Hugh Grant’s jilted fiancé in Four Weddings And A Funeral, has enjoyed an enviable career on stage and screen. The actress was most recently seen on stage in Hampstead theatre’s The Last Of The Duchess and boasts other credits including Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse and on Broadway, and The Observer and Never So Good at the National Theatre. Chancellor’s screen appearances include starring roles in The Hour, Suburban Shootout and Pride And Prejudice.
Her co-star Farrell has appeared in West End productions of Birdsong, Kean and The Cherry Orchard, the NT’s Stuff Happens and Dinner, as well as The Merchant Of Venice, Julius Caesar and Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The actor is perhaps best known for his extensive film credits which include The Iron Lady, Bloody Sunday, Chariots Of Fire and Hamlet.
Chancellor and Farrell are joined in the cast by Jonathan Bailey, Andrew Woodall, Mark Umbers, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, Bradley Hall, Rob Heaps, Alex Lawther and Liam Morton.