But It Still Goes On

by Robert Graves. Edited with additional dialogue by Fidelis Morgan.

10 July - 4 August 2018

“This generation’s no good, no good at all. They don’t possess any deep emotions. They don’t know what passion is.”

The world premiere

In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, a world premiere from the author of Goodbye To All That and I Claudius, Robert Graves’ “post-catastrophic comedy”, But It Still Goes On, directed by Fidelis Morgan, plays at the Finborough Theatre as part of the Finborough Theatre’s THEGREATWAR100 series commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

London 1932. Cecil Tompion, a popular writer, has bullied his children for most of their lives. Now, his son, an ex-army officer who survived the trenches of the Western Front, and his daughter, a doctor, are trying to break free. Their lives are touched by another ex-soldier, David, and close friend Charlotte, who both desperately struggle to repress their homosexuality.

The generation that survived a war have to confront who they really are when they discover that family is just another battlefield.

This unique rediscovery, never previously performed, But It Still Goes On by poet and novelist Robert Graves was written in 1929 as a commission from the producers of Journey’s End. Influenced by the drawing room comedies of Noël Coward and W. Somerset Maugham, it explores themes of adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, gender politics, casual sex, and inter-generational conflict, but with a surreal dark twist. It now finally receives its long overdue world premiere at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre.

About Playwright Robert Graves

Playwright Robert Graves (1895-1985) enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War, aged 19, and served as a Captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers with the poet, Siegfried Sassoon, with whom he remained close friends and whom he reportedly used as an inspiration for one of the characters in But It Still Goes On. He is best known today for his acclaimed war poetry, his classic memoir Goodbye To All That (1929), and his best-selling historical novels I Claudius (1934) and Claudius the God (1934) which were dramatised by the BBC in the 1970s. From 1929, he spent much of his life in Majorca, Spain, producing over 140 books (biography, novels, anthropology, myths, biblical studies) and was universally recognised as one of the leading writers of his age. Graves lived for many years with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder after his experiences in the First World War.

About Director Fidelis Morgan

Director Fidelis Morgan returns to the Finborough Theatre where she has previously directed a sell-out production of Lennox Robinson’s Drama At Inish, starring Celia Imrie and Paul O’Grady, and Colleen Murphy's The Piper as part of Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights; whilst her adaptation of Hangover Square, based on Patrick Hamilton’s novel, was another sell-out and received huge critical acclaim.

Fidelis was both player and assistant director at the world-renowned Glasgow Citizens Theatre, has directed classic plays at the major drama schools, and the King's Head Theatre. In 2014 she was Artist-in-Residence at the University of California. On television, Fidelis appeared in Jeeves and Wooster, As Time Goes By and Goodbye to Love, a biopic in which she played the Carpenters’ formidable mother, Agnes Carpenter. On stage, Fidelis has played leading roles in classics from Massinger to Coward, Goldoni to Brecht, at theatres such as the Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Nottingham Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. Her most recent film role was Anne in A Little Chaos. Her twenty published books include the ground-breaking The Female Wits: Women Playwrights on the London Stage and the Countess Ashby de la Zouche crime novels. She is currently working on another novel set in the late 17th/ early 18th centuries.

About Producer Andrew Maunder

Producer Andrew Maunder is Head of English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire. His recent books include British Theatre and the Great War 1914-1919  (2016) and R.C. Sherriff’s Journey’s End, A Guide (2017). He is part of the Centre for Everyday Lives in War, one of four First World War engagement centres funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is based at the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with the Universities of Essex, Northampton, West of England, Lincoln and Central Lancashire. The Centre works with a wide range of community groups on projects studying the impact of war on everyday life between 1914 and 1918 and its longer-term effects.


THEGREATWAR100 series is an occasional series of works about – or written during and in the aftermath – of the Great War presented by the Finborough Theatre to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The Press on But It Still Goes On

“An engaging drama, providing glimpses into things that would not be fully explored on stage for another forty years.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“Sublime visual moments.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“The Finborough's gift for reviving rare plays and presenting perceptive productions of them is unsurpassed and a source of real delight.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“The Finborough specialises in producing neglected plays and they don’t get more neglected than this: written in 1929 but never previously performed.” Oliver Wake, View From the Cheap Seat

“It's not often that a play written in 1929 receives its world première almost 90 years later, but that is precisely what the Finborough Theatre has given us with their production of Robert Graves' But It Still Goes On.” Linda Riley, Diva Magazine

“Boldly ahead of what was publically acceptable then.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“We have London's tiny pub theatre, the Finborough, under artistic director Neil McPherson, which so often punches above its weight, to thank for this first staging of Robert Graves' play a hundred years after the end of the First World War.” Lizzie Loveridge, Curtain Up

“Worth the 89 year wait.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“An entertaining evening that discusses sexuality and post-war feeling in time for the centenary of the First World War.” Amelia Brown, The Spy In the Stalls

“The inter-war setting, rather than alienating the audience, reminds us of the deep-rooted universality of the issues addressed.” Linda Riley, Diva Magazine

“A coup for the tiny Finborough Theatre.” Aliya Al-Hassan, Broadway World

“Very funny.” Richard Maguire, The Reviews Hub

“The Finborough has boldly gone where others have feared to tread and its bravery has been rewarded. Its production, directed with aplomb by Fidelis Morgan, fizzes like a newly opened bottle of vintage champagne. Farce, anger, jealousies, tragedy, sexual frisson and innuendo sit alongside each other.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“An intriguing rediscovery.” Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide

“This play oozes class.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“But It Still Goes On, like all the best drama, retains relevance even today.” Linda Riley, Diva Magazine

“If it is an undiscovered gem you are looking for But It Still Goes On really fits the bill.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“A worthy addition to plays about war, and, importantly, about interwar homosexuality.” Richard Maguire, The Reviews Hub

“What sets it apart, and makes it so interesting to an audience in 2018, are the characters Charlotte (Sophie Ward) and David (Victor Gardener). The play does not take long to establish that these characters are both gay.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatre

“Faith, homosexuality and inter-generational friction are all themes richly mined in But It Still Goes On…. Nothing unusual until you take into account the fact that this is a play originally written 89 years ago by Robert Graves, illustrious war poet and author of some magnificent literature (I Claudius).” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Graves gives us a glimpse into the gay underworld with its pick-up points, knowing waiters and nocturnal activities on the heath.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“The belated world premiere of a play that Robert Graves wrote in 1929, soon after his war memoir, Goodbye to All That, and five years before I, Claudius. Historically, its mix of struggles with sexuality, impish comedy and post-First World War trauma is fascinating.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreGuideLondon

“The cast is strong across the board. Alan Cox is sharply witty, wicked and playful as Dick.” Amelia Brown, The Spy In the Stalls

“Another Finborough triumph. The cast is quite extraordinary. Cox, as the play’s main character, leads from the front but he is supported at every twist and turn by his comrades in arms. Klaff is quite brilliant.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“The acting is all first-rate, especially from Alan Cox as world-weary Dick...Charlotte Weston is hilarious as Cecil’s flirty mistress.” Richard Maguire, The Reviews Hub

“Sophie Ward's Charlotte is a tour de force - understated, restrained and self-destructive.” Linda Riley, Diva Magazine

“Played movingly, respectively by Victor Gardener and Sophie Ward.” Amelia Brown, The Spy In the Stalls

“Beautifully played by Sophie Ward and Victor Gardener.” Julia Rank, The Stage

“Cecil, played wonderfully by Jack Klaff.” Richard Maguire, The Reviews Hub

“Jack Klaff is commanding in any scene he is in.” Aliya Al-Hassan, Broadway World

“A fantastic Charlotte Weston.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Brilliantly played by Ward.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“Director Fidelis Morgan pulls out all the stops in this lavish and starry production.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“Attractively and appropriately costumed by Lindsay Hill.” Julia Rank, The Stage

“Bold, hugely entertaining with sumptuous and sassy costumes.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Lindsay Hill’s impressive costumes.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

“Excellently designed by Doug Mackie.” Andy Curtis, London Pub Theatres

The Press on Playwright Robert Graves

“An astonshingly prolific and versatile writer...with a sardonic, hard-bitten wit.” Wolfgang Saxon, The New York Times

“Unique...amused and intense, detached and earnest at the same time....” John Carey, The Sunday Times

“The last of the great 1914-1918 war poets.” David Holloway, The Daily Telegraph

On Goodbye To All That

“A subversive tour de force…. Graves is never boring.” Robert McCrum, The Observer

“The book of a lifetime: Sanity in the face of insanity.” Benjamin Markovits, The Independent

“The cool genius of Robert Graves…one of the most moving statements of the impact of trench warfare.” John Wain, The Guardian.

“A beautifully written memoir of youth, a bitter rage against the worst of what the First World War had been.…As the First World War becomes increasingly remote…Goodbye becomes an important key to that past.” Allan Mallinson, The Times.

“One of the most candid self-portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted ….beautifully vivid.” Times Literary Supplement

On I Claudius

“Compelling.” Barry Unsworth, The Guardian

“One of the most extraordinary accomplishments in fiction.” Anne Perry, The Wall Street Journal

“Powerfully compelling.” Ben Lawrence, The Daily Telegraph

The Press on Fidelis Morgan's Adaptation of Hangover Square at the Finborough Theatre

“Theatrical justice has been done to a great novel I cannot recommend too highly.” ★★★★★ The Daily Telegraph

“The dark surrealism of Hamilton’s novel is expertly transferred to the stage in this wily production.” ★★★★ Four Stars, WhatsOnStage

“Fidelis Morgan’s adaptation is vivid and poetic.” The Stage

“Fidelis Morgan’s accomplished stage adaptation.” ★★★★ WhatsOnStage

“Fidelis Morgan's stage adaptation takes risks with the novel while remaining utterly faithful to its spirit and atmosphere.” ★★★★★ The Daily Telegraph

10 July - 4 August 2018

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes