by John Van Druten
29 January – 23 February 2013
The first London production for more than 80 years
The entire run of LONDON WALL sold out at the Finborough Theatre.
The Finborough production transfers to the St James’ Theatre, London, from 7 May–1 June 2013.
Full information at www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/events/london-wall
Presented by the acclaimed Two’s Company, returning to the Finborough Theatre following their sell-out 2005 production of the Great War classic Red Night
London Wall is a wryly comic look at the life of women office workers in the 1930s. In a solicitor’s office in the City, Brewer, the office manager, sees pretty new 19-year-old typist Pat as fair game. As some of the more experienced secretaries try to warn her, and others leave her to her fate, her steady boyfriend – an idealistic young writer – desperately tries to win her back. Meanwhile, cynical Miss Janus’ romantic life seems to be over as she is jilted by her lover at the desperate age of 35…
First performed in the West End in 1931 starring a young John Mills, filmed in 1932, televised in 1963, but unseen since then, London Wall is a surprisingly modern look at men’s continuing inability to see women as professional equals and colleagues.
Image copyright: Lynne’s Lens
About The Playwright John Van Druten
John Van Druten (1901-1957) was one of the most successful West End and Broadway playwrights of the 1930s and 1940s. He was known for his witty and urbane observations of contemporary life and society. His first play Young Woodley was originally banned in London by the Lord Chamberlain, but went on to have successful runs in the West End and on Broadway. It was revived at the Finborough Theatre in 2006. He later emigrated to America where his plays included The Voice of the Turtle (1943) which ran for three seasons in New York and was filmed with Ronald Reagan. He remains best known for his 1951 play I Am a Camera, based on Christopher Isherwood’s short stories, which formed the basis of the musical Cabaret.
About The Director Tricia Thorns
Tricia Thorns started her career as an actor in John Neville’s company at the Fortune Theatre following a Classics BA from Nottingham University. As an actor, she performed widely on stage, in films and in television. As a director, her work includes My Real War 1914-? (Trafalgar Studios and National Tour), Red Night (Finborough Theatre), The Searcher (Workshop production at Greenwich Theatre), What the Women Did (Southwark Playhouse), Forgotten Voices of the Great War (Pleasance London), Ex and Black ‘Ell (Soho Theatre), Twelfth Night (Dulwich Picture Gallery), Peer Gynt (Alleyn’s Theatre) and Passion Play 2000, a huge community play which she also wrote.
About Two's Company
Two’s Company was founded by Graham Cowley (producer for Out of Joint since 1998), Tricia Thorns and Ian Talbot OBE (former Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park) in 2003. Its main concern as a company has been to uncover forgotten gems of 20th century theatre, noted in their day but forgotten as the tides of fashion changed. The Forgotten Voices of the Great War series of nine plays written during the First World War or soon after brought great acclaim. Graham Cowley says “It continues to surprise us that plays written over 80 years ago can speak to us with such relevance and clarity.”
The Press on Two's Company
Time Out Critics' Choice
★★★★ Four Stars What’s On In London
“A memorable evening of theatre...another triumph for the finborough” John Thaxter, What’s On In London
“A terrific rediscovery of a piece unseen for 70 years" Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate
“Tricia Thorns’ strongly cast revival...reveals a riveting drama in its own right, leavened by phlegmatic humour and ironic songs” John Thaxter, What’s On In London
“Tricia Thorns' beautiful production subtly ekes out moments of genuine, heartfelt honesty one minute and euphoric comradeship the next.” Adam Taylor, Rogues and Vagabonds
“Thorns' production manoeuvres a cast of 10 with great skill around the tiny Finborough stage” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Director Tricia Thorns creates a strong sense of camaraderie underscored by mortal danger” Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
The Press on London Wall
“Plucked from obscurity and lavished with care, John van Druten’s skilful office drama may not have been seen in London for 80 years, but it couldn’t have hoped for a better homecoming than this.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“An almost perfect piece of theatre.. Charming, truthful and hilarious” Lettie Mckie, The Public Reviews
“Well-made, well-performed, heart-warming and unexpectedly moving.” Lauren Mooney, Exeunt Magazine
“Delightful” Natasha Tripney, The Stage
“Tremendously enjoyable.” Julia Rank, A Younger Theatre
“An an outright charmer of immense possibility.” David Benedict, Variety
“The ultra-reliable Finborough strikes again, with a well-made and insightful play that’s been immaculately revived.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“This well-acted, immaculately designed production has many important things to say about office politics and gender relations.” Emma Cole, One Stop Arts
“A smart indictment of the meagre circumference of a woman’s life as part of the urban workforce of the ’30s, wrapped around a heartfelt romantic drama.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“Sex curdles the air like thunder” Libby Purves, The Times
“After Priestley's Cornelius, the Finborough brings us another play about office life in the interwar years; and even if John Van Druten's 1931 piece doesn't have the state-of-the nation ambitions of its predecessor, it still has pertinent things to say about the exploitation of women, and is as rivetingly entertaining as you'd expect from the man who went on to write I Am a Camera.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Crammed with delicious details and moments” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“A rueful love letter to our brave grandmothers.” Libby Purves, The Times
“It is somewhat ironic that this 30s play about women struggling to make their way in the workplace offers juicier female roles than many modern shows.” Robert Cumber, Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle
“From "The Apartment" to "Sex and the City" and beyond, writers have created trenchant comedy combining dramas of office life with sex and the single girl. It's a delight, therefore, to discover that one of the sharpest in the genre dates from 1931.” David Benedict, Variety
“There’s more to Van Druten’s work than meets the eye” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“John van Druten’s play London Wall was first produced in the West End in 1931, but it takes such a wry, incisive look at the position of women in the workplace that it feels as if it could have been written far more recently.” Lauren Mooney, Exeunt Magazine
“The acting is perfection” Carole Woddis, The Arts Desk
“Beautifully cast” Julia Rank, A Younger Theatre
“Beautifully judged, immaculately acted revival isn't just theatrical archeology, it's a treat” David Benedict, Variety
“Tricia Thorns’ production is beautifully cast and played throughout” Timothy Ramsden, Reviews Gate
“Tricia Thorns' production for Two's Company is brilliantly designed by Alex Marker and excellently cast.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“A multi-layered and compelling production in which all the actors excel” Lettie Mckie, The Public Reviews
“A wonderfully slick production performed by a very strong ensemble.” Mel West, WhatsOnStage
“Maia Alexander as the gauche newcomer, Alix Dunmore as her older protector, Alex Robertson as the suave seducer and Marty Cruickshank as a litigious fusspot all impress in a play that reminds us of a lost era – when middlebrow drama had a social purpose.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
“Superbly cast. Maia Alexander conveys the perfect mix of naivety and good sense as Pat, while Alix Dunmore invests Miss Janus with just the right amount of cynicism, her true hopes and wants vividly visible beneath her clipped exterior.” Natasha Tripney, The Stage
“Both Alix Dunmore and particularly Maia Alexander names to watch out for in future. Both have that rare gift of conveying deep feeling on stage and making it seem entirely natural.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide
“Alix Dunmore shines as Blanche Janus” Mel West, WhatsOnStage
“It’s Alix Dunmore’s performance as the restrained Miss Janus, sensitively aware of her increasing age and desperate to escape, that takes your breath away.” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“Alix Dunmore, whose performance as the dignified Miss Janus is strong and humorous and brimming with desperation; she’s heartbreakingly affecting” Lauren Mooney, Exeunt Magazine
“Maia Alexander...is something very special and a name to watch, genuine youth and innocence conveyed without any cloying or synthetic sweetness.” Carole Woddis, The Arts Desk
“The male characters, too, are a joy to watch, from the sweatily solicitous Hec (Timothy O'Hara) to the unctuous and predatory Brewer (Alex Robertson)” Mel West, WhatsOnStage
“Alex Robertson is irresistibly monstrous” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“There are also enjoyable turns from veteran performers David Whitworth as the surprisingly sympathetic boss, and Marty Cruickshank as dotty client Miss Willesden” Julia Rank, A Younger Theatre
“Timothy O'Hara's depiction of love interest Hec Hammond completely wins the audience over” Emma Cole, One Stop Arts
“Tricia Thorns’ charming and wholly satisfying production” Natasha Tripney, The Stage
“Director Tricia Thorns brilliantly captures the tumult of a busy legal office, aided by Alex Marker’s ingenious design” Stewart Pringle, Time Out
“There is no mistaking the gloss and brilliantine Tricia Thorns brings to her production.” Carole Woddis, The Arts Desk
“Tricia Thorns’s sparkling, witty and truthful production” Julia Rank, A Younger Theatre
“Tricia Thorn’s loving revival” Libby Purves, The Times
“Alex Marker’s set makes ingenious use of the intimate performance space and is so lovingly detailed” Natasha Tripney, The Stage
“Yet another astonishing set from Alex Marker that really could be transported straight from the front office of a solicitor's firm c. 1931” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide
“Alex Marker’s perfectly realised design” Libby Purves, The Times
“Without a doubt, the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court is one of the best venues in London. A multi-award winning space that exists on a shoe string but punches above its weight with a programme of thought provoking new writing. As new production London Wall proves, it is also a master of revival, focusing on neglected 19th and 20th century texts.” Lettie Mckie, The Public Reviews
“No other London fringe theatre has achieved such stellar success as this tiny pub theatre under the helm of its restless, irrepressible artistic director Neil McPherson, who has made a cottage industry out of discovering forgotten gems.” Carole Woddis, The Arts Desk
“What is really striking, however, is that the two best plays in the capital at the moment – this and John Van Druten's London Wall at the Finborough – not only deal with the shameless economic exploitation of women, but they derive from under-resourced small spaces. If you want good drama in London, head to Richmond or Earl's Court.” Michael Billington, The Guardian
Trained at RADA.
Theatre includes One Day When We Were Young (Paines Plough), The Sound Of Heavy Rain (Paines Plough), All About My Mother, The Crucible, The Young Idea and Othello (Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre at RADA) and The Workroom (GBS Theatre at RADA).
At the Finborough Theatre, Emily appeared in Too True to be Good (2009) and Somersaults (2013).
Trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Our Country's Good (National Tour), Daisy Pulls it Off (National Tour), Poor Cousin (Hampstead Theatre), Hay Fever (West Yorkshire Playhouse), 250 Words (The Young Vic), The Importance of Being Earnest and Travesties (Birmingham Rep), Present Laughter (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Antigone (Bristol Old Vic), Shakespeare and Co (Watermill Theatre, Newbury, and Tour), Mister Murdery (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), A Bigger Banner (Theatre Uncut at the Latitude Festival), Devon Country (The Tobacco Factory), Births, Marriages and Deaths (High-Hearted Theatre), Great Undertaking in Little America (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), Look Back in Anger and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garrick Theatre, Lichfield), Much Ado About Nothing (Ripley Castle, Harrogate), Noises Off (Torch Theatre, Milford Haven), Lie of the Land (Arcola Theatre) and Reunion (Theatre 503).
Film includes Tezz and City Rats.
Television includes Upstairs Downstairs, Holby City, Torchwood, The Bill, Doctors, Shameless, Wire in the Blood and When Calls the Heart.
Radio includes High Table, Lower Orders, Swimming Lessons, Roundabout and Mortar.
Trained at Drama Centre.
Theatre includes The Heresy of Love (Royal Shakespeare Company), Pygmalion (Chichester Festival Theatre and the Garrick Theatre), Gates of Gold (Library Theatre, Manchester), In Parenthesis (Churchill Theatre, Bromley), Charley’s Aunt (National Tour), Tartuffe (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Riders to the Sea, The Tinker’s Wedding (Southwark Playhouse), Quartermaine’s Terms, Habeas Corpus, Summer Lightning (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), Hamlet, Love in a Wood (The Royal Shakespeare Company), Two Clouds over Eden (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester) and Major Barbara (Piccadilly Theatre).
Film includes I, Anna, The Fool.
Television includes Lewis, Doctors, EastEnders, Spooks, Midsomer Murders, Kavanagh QC and Unnatural Pursuits.
Radio includes Up The Garden Path.
Trained at The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology.
Theatre includes Something for the Winter (Southwark Playhouse), Foster (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Overkill (Warehouse Theatre, Croydon), After the Storm (Fairfield Halls and Bloomsbury Theatre), Peter Pan (Churchill Theatre, Bromley) and Guys and Dolls, Animal Farm, The Vackees (Bob Hope Theatre, Carshalton).
Film includes Leave to Remain, Charlie Says and Volume.
Television includes A Mother’s Son, Bad Education, Holby City and Call the Midwife.
Trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Theatre includes The Two Noble Kinsmen (Bristol Old Vic), A Winter of War (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), Separate Tables (The Mill at Sonning), Arrows (Greenwich Playhouse), After Liverpool (Edinburgh Festival), Nature Adores a Vacuum (Soho Theatre), The Dead Guy (English Theatre, Frankfurt), Top Girls (National Tour for Out of Joint) and Happy Birthday Wanda June (Old Red Lion Theatre).
Television includes Casualty and High Society’s Favourite Gigolo.
Radio includes The Simon Day Show and 49 Cedar Street.
Alix is a founder member of The Fitzrovia Radio Hour and has performed with them at Shakespeare’s Globe, the Rose Theatre, Kingston, Trafalgar Studios, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, and Theatre Royal York.
Trained at Webber Douglas Academy/The Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes Have I None and Chair (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Coffin (King's Head Theatre), There Will Be More and The Pope's Wedding (The Cock Tavern).
Film includes Sherlock Holmes.
Television includes Casualty and Clone.
Trained at RADA.
Theatre includes Horse Piss For Blood (Theatre Royal, Plymouth), Speechless (Shared Experience), Backbeat (Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow), Artist Descending A Staircase (LeNez Productions), Orestes (Shared Experience), By Parties Unknown (Sincera), Woman In Mind (Salisbury Playhouse), The School For Wives (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton), Bear Hug (Royal Court Rgeare) and The Soldier (Edinburgh Festival).
Television includes First Light , Fanny Hill, Wide Sargasso Sea, The Quatermass Experiment and Vernon.
Radio includes Armadale.
At the Finborough Theatre, David appeared in Rigor Mortis (2011).
Theatre includes London Assurance (National Theatre), Vieux Carre (King's Head Theatre and Charing Cross Theatre), The Second Mrs Tanqueray (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Aladdin (Bristol Hippodrome), The Thunderbolt, Mary Goes First, Double Double, Trifles and King Lear (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park), Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep), As You Like It (Nottingham Playhouse) and The Mousetrap (St. Martin’s Theatre).
Film includes Love’s Kitchen and Little Dorrit.
Television includes The Bill and Nicholas Nickleby.
29 January – 23 February 2013
Tickets and Times
|Saturday||3:00pm (from the second week of the run)
Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes