The Real Thing is Tom Stoppard’s comedy examining the complex nature of love, art and reality.
Henry is a successful and talented playwright married to Charlotte, an actress playing the lead in his current play about adultery. Her co-star and friend Max is married to Annie, also an actor. Henry and Annie have fallen in love but is it any more real than the subjects in Henry’s play? As the story unravels, Henry discovers that love – ‘the real thing’ – can be unpredictable and painful.
The Real Thing premiered in London in 1982 and was produced on Broadway the following year, collecting several Tony Awards. The play was revived at the Donmar Warehouse in 2000 with a cast including Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle, which transferred to the West End and Broadway.
This production of The Real Thing at the Old Vic stars Toby Stephens as Henry. Stephens was most recently seen on stage in A Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse and previously in The Country Wife, Tartuffe, Betrayal and A Streetcar Named Desire in the West End. As well as numerous productions for the RSC, Stephens has many screen credits including the Bond film Die Another Day and TV dramas Jane Eyre, Cambridge Spies and The Camomile Lawn.
The Real Thing’s author Tom Stoppard is one of Britain’s most respected playwrights, with numerous awards to his name. He is the author of plays including Jumpers, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Coast Of Utopia, Hapgood, Arcadia and, most recently, Rock ‘N’ Roll. His writing for film includes the BAFTA and Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love.
For more about The Real Thing read the First Night Feature.