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
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Cornelius (which subsequently transferred to 59E59 Theaters, New York City) Chu Chin Chow and Atman as part of Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights 2010.
Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes The Caretaker (Adelaide Festival and US Tour), The Tempest (Jericho House), Blok/Eko, Hurts Given and Received, Found in the Ground and The Fence (The Wrestling School), Behind the Eye (Cincinnati Playhouse), 50 Hour Improvathon (Hoxton Hall), Much Ado About Nothing (Chester Performs), Orwell: A Celebration (Trafalgar Studios), Frost/Nixon (US Tour), Natural Selection (Theatre503), Passion Play (Goodman Theatre, Chicago), Translations (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Creeper (Playhouse Theatre), The Rubenstein Kiss (Hampstead Theatre), The Earthly Paradise (Almeida Theatre), John Bull’s Other Island (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), The Flu Season (Gate Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Duchess of Malfi (Salisbury Playhouse), Three Sisters (Birmingham Rep), An Enemy Of The People, Wild Oats, Absolute Hell and The Seagull (National Theatre), The Lady's Not for Burning and On The Razzle (Chichester Festival Theatre), Strange Interlude (Duke of York’s Theatre) and several productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is a regular improviser with Ken Campbell's School of Night.
Film includes The Speed of Thought, Not Only But Always, Act Naturally, Ladies in Lavender, The Waterfalls of Slunj, Justice, Weight, Cor Blimey, The Auteur Theory, Contagion, Mrs. Dalloway, An Awfully Big Adventure and Young Sherlock Holmes.
Television includes The Good Wife, Lucan, A Voyage Around My Father, The Odyssey, Not Only But Always, Housewife 49, John Adams and Margaret.
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Fog.
Trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Frank Sent Me (Soho Theatre), Biblical Stories (New End Theatre), Enjoy (Theatre Royal Bath), 2012 Part 2 (New Players Theatre), Journey’s End, Miss Julie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Twelfth Night, Road, To Kill A Mockingbird, Macbeth, The Europeans, Romeo and Juliet, The Caretaker, The Recruiting Officer and Blood Wedding (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Blocked (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Bollywood Jane (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Way of the World (Wilton’s Music Hall), Doorman (Theatre Royal Plymouth) and Offending the Audience (Sadler’s Wells).
Film includes Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Fast and The Furious 6, Farming and The Numbers Station.
Television includes Les Miserables, Press, True Horror, Holby City, Mr Selfridge, Endeavour V, EastEnders, House Swap, Doctors, Hollyoaks, Law and Order, The Bill, Casualty, The Crux – Hungerford, Emmerdale, Auf Wiedersehn Pet and Murphy’s Law – Kiss and Tell.
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Drama at Inish, The Representative, Nagging Doubt and Trilby.
He was also a host at the Finborough Forum 2007 series. Theatre includes Shirleymander (Playground Theatre), Richard ll (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Screaming Secrets (Tristan Bates Theatre), The Cherry Orchard, The Lower Depths (Arcola Theatre), Beyond Price (Summerhall), Dracula (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), Ivy and Joan and Statements (Jermyn Street Theatre), Henry VI, Son of Light, As You Like It and Tamburlaine (Royal Shakespeare Company), Othello, Troilus and Cressida, Donkey’s Years and I’m Not Rappaport (Bristol Old Vic), Map of the Heart (Shakespeare’s Globe), Insignificance (Donmar Warehouse) and Stockwell (Tricycle Theatre). Film includes Two Decadent Years, The Eyes of Orson Welles (Cannes 2018), Star Wars, For Your Eyes Only, King David, Pasternak, Olga, 1871 and Ten Pence. Television includes Last Duel, Red Dwarf, Vanity Fair, Ruth Rendell’s Road Rage and Midsomer Murders. Radio includes Fountainbridge Spy, Sea Wolf, Books of the Week: Young Orson, Last Resort, Tynan Diaries, Comandante, I Regress (All BBC) and Bleeding Edge (Award-winning online thriller) as well as his own works Flying Backwards and Three-Five-Silly-Twerp.
Jack Klaff has written and performed twelve solo works, which have been performed and broadcast internationally. He has written for The Guardian, The Independent and Vogue and has presented on BBC Radio, LBC, BBC Four TV, Discovery and Granada. He has rewritten his theatrical show, Whole Shebang as a book and he is also the author of Bluff Your Way in the Quantum Universe. Theatrical works he has written and performed include The Cuddles Trilogy, Kafka, The Fifty Minute Hour, Bosom Buddies, and verses for The Shakespeare Revue. He has won two Fringe Firsts, a Herald Archangel, the Jack Hargreaves Award for Innovative Use of TV Drama and Two Sony Certificates for radio acting; he has been nominated for a Golden Rose Award at Montreux and a Tinniswood Award for radio writing. Jack has held Visiting Professorships at Starlab - a science and technology think tank in Brussels - and at Princeton University.
Hayward B Morse
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include The Melting Pot, Eden’s Empire, Weapons of Happiness and Magnificence.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Brand New Day (Arts Theatre), Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Barking in Essex (Wyndham’s Theatre), Travels With My Aunt (Birmingham Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Kings Road Theatre), The Canterbury Tales (Phoenix Theatre), What The Butler Saw (Queen’s Theatre) and the Broadway production of Butley (Morosco Theatre, New York) for which he received a Tony Award nomination.
Film includes Blank Canvas, The Scared of Death Society, Agency and Death Wish 3.
Television includes Autopsy: The Last Hours of Lou Reed, The Secret Files and James May’s Man Lab.
Audio work includes The Killing School, The Life of the Buddha, The Theban Plays, The Man on the Mountaintop and over 100 audiobooks for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Cottage (Engeman Theatre), Private Lives (Hertford Stage), The Explorers Club (Manhattan Theatre Club), Twelfth Night (Folger Theatre), Airswimming and Dancing at Lughnasa (Irish Repertory Theatre), An Ideal Husband (Washington Shakespeare Theater), Bedroom Farce and Miss Julie (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Grand Slam (King’s Head Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida, Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal Shakespeare Company), Dr. Foster and Paradox (Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe), Hamlet (Birmingham Rep), King Lear (English Touring Theatre and The Old Vic), The Fall Guy and Time and the Conways (Royal Exchange Theatre) and Barefoot in the Park (Jermyn Street Theatre).
Film includes Wonder Woman, Schadenfreude, Chronic, AKA and Basil.
Television includes Madam Secretary, Dietland, 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover, Elementary, House of Anubis, Garrow’s Law, Doctors, Small Island, Midsomer Murders, Genie in the House, Dogtown, Rosemary and Thyme, Holby City and Jeffrey Archer: The Truth.
Radio includes Weather Girl and From Here to Eternity.
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include The Passing of the Third Floor Back, Perchance to Dream, Outward Bound and Quality Street.
Theatre includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Much Ado About Nothing (US Tour), Cyrano De Bergerac (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre), Charlotte’s Web (Birmingham Company), Kindertransport for which she was nominated as Best Actress in the Manchester Evening News Awards (Octagon Theatre, Bolton), High Society (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, and Shaftesbury Theatre), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Clwyd Theatr Cymru and National Tour), Stepping Out (Salisbury Playhouse), A Wordless Thing, Felt Effects (Theatre503), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Engaged, The Beggars Opera and The Road to Ruin (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Top Girls (Watford Palace Theatre and Greenwich Theatre), Great Expectations (Library Theatre, Manchester), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Midnight Garden, Manchester) and When We Are Married (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Liverpool Playhouse).
Film includes Christopher Robin, Charlotte Gray, We Love Moses, The Busker and The Coin and Cavery.
Television includes Cuckoo, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City and The Royal.
Trained at Drama Studio London.
Theatre includes As You Like It, Earthquakes in London, Hotel Paradiso, The Little Hotel on the Side, The York Mystery Plays, The Country Wife, The Anne Boleyn, Eigengrau, Romeo and Juliet and The Wood Demon (Drama Studio London).
Film includes Wounded Soldier.
Theatre includes Mount Vernon (Vindicate Company, Los Angeles), Brave New World (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), Flowers of the Forest (Jermyn Street Theatre), A Judgement in Stone, Go Back For Murder and The Grass is Greener (National Tours for Bill Kenwright Ltd), Private Lives (Carpe), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (National Tour for Nimax), An Ideal Husband (Theatr Clwyd Cymru), Nothing (59E59, New York), Electricity (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Semi-Monde (Lyric Theatre), Three Sisters (Chichester Festival Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (UK Tour), The Turn of the Screw (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Venice Preserv’d, The Robbers Hamlet, Don Carlos, Private Lives and The Milk Train (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) and Flare Path (King’s Head Theatre).
Film includes Swiperight, Jane Eyre, Book of Blood, Out of Bounds, Wuthering Heights, Young Toscanini, A Summer Story, Little Dorrit, Young Sherlock Holmes, Return to Oz and Aria.
Television includes The Moonstone, Doctors, Coup, Secret State, Hustle, Land Girls, Law and Order, New Tricks, Lewis, Holby City, Heartbeat, Dinotopia, A Village Affair, A Dark Adapted Eye, Taking Liberty, Inspector Lynley, Peak Practice, Rhona, Chiller: Prophecy, Taking Liberty, Miss Marple: A Caribbean Mystery, Dark Adapted Eye, The Strauss Dynasty and Class of ’61.
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Make Me A Martyr as part of Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights 2010.
Theatre includes Sellotape Sisters (Brighton Fringe and Tristan Bates Theatre), Story Project (Arcola Theatre), Guerilla/Whore (Two Bob Theatre), One Minute (Shining Man), Quest (Folklore Productions), Closer (SAW Productions) and Dangerous to Know (Bill Kenwright Ltd). Film includes Loanely Hearts/ Amoureux Solitaires, The Wedding Video, Revelation, Preaching to the Perverted, Crazy, UFO, Camilla and William.
Television includes Genius: Picasso, Making it, The Crown, The Jury, Silent Witness, The IT Crowd, Mile High, General Hospital, Star Hunter, Lucy Sullivan, The Tenth Kingdom, In Search of Hamlet, Is It Legal?, Lenny Henry Show, Sean’s Show and The Bill.
10 July - 4 August 2018
Tickets and Times
Approximately two hours with one interval of fifteen minutes