Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn’s piece for actors and orchestra, is revived at the National’s Olivier theatre three decades after it was first performed as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
The plot of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour finds a dissident locked up in an asylum. He will be released if he admits that he was ill, has been treated and is now cured. His cell is shared by another patient who believes he is surrounded by an orchestra. As the dissident’s son begs his father to free himself with a lie, Stoppard’s darkly funny and provocative play asks if denying the truth is a price worth paying for liberty.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is the latest in a long list of Stoppard plays to be staged at the National Theatre. The association between playwright and company began in 1967 with Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead and has gone on to include pieces such as Jumpers, The Real Inspector Hound, Arcadia and The Coast Of Utopia.
Previn is one of the most famous names in the world of music. The composer, conductor and pianist has held chief artistic posts with the Los Angeles Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Houston Symphony Orchestra. In addition to composing the music for Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Previn has produced numerous orchestral and chamber works, and more than 50 film scores.
The Southbank Sinfonia, Britain’s young professional orchestra, provides the show’s music. Founded in 2002, it was created to support promising musicians who have recently graduated from music college.
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is directed at the Olivier theatre by the combination of National Theatre Associate Director Tom Morris (War Horse) and Felix Barrett, Artistic Director of Punchdrunk, the theatre company that has had tremendous success with productions including Faust and The Masque Of The Red Death.