The Wind of Heaven

by Emlyn Williams

Tuesday, 26 November - Saturday, 21 December

“Is something coming to us that for two thousand years the tear-stained blood-sick world has been waiting for?”

The first London production in 75 years

★★★★★ Five Stars, The Reviews Hub

★★★★★ Five Stars, Close-Up Culture

★★★★★ Five Stars, London Pub Theatres Magazine

★★★★.5 Four and a Half Stars, Breaking the Fourth Wall

★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian

★★★★ Four Stars, The Arts Desk

★★★★ Four Stars, Reviewsgate

★★★★ Four Stars, William Russell Twitter

★★★★ Four Stars, The Crumb

★★★★ Four Stars, Broadway Baby

London Pub Theatres Standing Ovation Award 2019-2020 Nomination

Dilys Parry lives in Blestin, a Welsh mountain village which has no children and worships no god since a disaster snatched away all its youth.

Inconsolable since her husband died in the Crimean War, Dilys is gradually re-awakened to life when a prophet-like child working in her household is called by God to serve the world.

In the wake of vast social inequality and a mismanaged war, one small community rediscovers its lost faith, with startling consequences for the village, and the world beyond…

A parable about healing the wounds inflicted by a national trauma, The Wind of Heaven was first produced in the West End in April 1945, just three weeks before the end of the Second World War in Europe, starring Emlyn Williams himself. It now receives its first London production in nearly 75 years at the Finborough Theatre, well known for its recent rediscoveries of Emlyn Williams’ work, including the multi-award-winning Accolade.

About the Playwright Emlyn Williams

Emlyn Williams (1905-1987), dubbed “the Welsh Noël Coward”, was one of the most successful actor-dramatists of the 1930s and 1940s. His greatest works, Night Must Fall and The Corn Is Green, were made into films starring Albert Finney, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, and remain much revived. Williams’ plays have twice been rediscovered by the Finborough Theatre – The Druid’s Rest in 2009, and Blanche McIntyre’s multi-award-winning production of Accolade in 2011, which subsequently transferred to St James Theatre. Williams was a pioneering LGBTQ+ figure, and his remarkable life began in a working-class family in North Wales, where he spoke no English until the age of eight and could barely read or write. Coincidentally, he lived much of his adult life in Dovehouse Street, a short walk from the Finborough Theatre.

About the Director Will Maynard

Director Will Maynard’s work includes Open (VAULT 2019), Head-Rot Holiday (Hope Theatre), Tiger (VAULT 2018), Finding Mr Hart (Blackburn Exchange for the University of London) and Blavatsky’s Tower (Barons Court Theatre). Shorter plays include Classical Studies (Arcola Theatre), Crocodile (Old Red Lion Theatre), Sunflower (Bunker Theatre) and Gold Star (Hen and Chickens Theatre). Assistant Direction includes Bloody Poetry (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Mary Rose (Brockley Jack Theatre).

The Press on Emlyn Williams' Accolade at the Finborough Theatre

“Accolade already classifies as one of the defining rediscoveries of this theatrical year.” Matt Wolf, The New York Times

“In Earl's Court, the Finborough Theatre has struck gold. There's no other word for this overlooked treasure by Emlyn Williams.” Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

“The reviewers’ cliché ‘Neglected plays are usually neglected for a good reason’ carries the implicit qualifier ‘... except when the Finborough stages them’. The more obscure revivals presented by this little studio theatre are almost always worthwhile, often impressive and sometimes revelatory. With Emlyn Williams’ 1950 drama, here receiving its first revival, we are well into revelation.” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times

The Press on Director Will Maynard's Previous Work

“Meticulous and sensitive direction.” ActDrop on Head-Rot Holiday

“Director Will Maynard… uses the intimate space of the Barons Court Theatre to superb effect embracing its claustrophobic nature…it’s a real treat to find this sparkling black comedy so beautifully revived.” The Stage on Blavatsky’s Tower

“Slender writing and an equally tight direction…triumphant.” BroadwayWorld UK on Open

The Press on The Wind of Heaven

★★★★★ Five Stars, The Reviews Hub

★★★★★ Five Stars, Close-Up Culture

★★★★★ Five Stars, London Pub Theatres Magazine

★★★★.5 Four and a Half Stars, Breaking the Fourth Wall

★★★★ Four Stars, The Guardian

★★★★ Four Stars, The Arts Desk

★★★★ Four Stars, Reviewsgate

★★★★ Four Stars, William Russell Twitter

★★★★ Four Stars, The Crumb

★★★★ Four Stars, Broadway Baby

London Pub Theatres Standing Ovation Award 2019-2020 Nomination

“As always the Finborough has done a service resurrecting it for today’s audience and as usual with a first rate cast and this time in particular a fine, evocative set.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“The Finborough Theatre has an enviable track record of ‘rediscovering’ forgotten plays of quality and their latest production is no exception.” Michael Davis, Breaking the Fourth Wall

“The theatre itself…enhances every aspect of the production.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“While the religious theme is not shirked…this is also a parable about people being true to themselves, learning to take, literally and metaphorically, a leap of faith in the future.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“An atmospheric and moving drama without missing a beat in two hours of superior theatre.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“A welcome seasonal antidote to the slew of pantos.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“The Finborough continues to rescue Emlyn Williams from oblivion with a fine revival of The Wind of Heaven not seen since 1945.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“The theatre world is indebted to the Finborough for resurrecting this play and mounting such a mysteriously moving masterpiece.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“The Finborough Theatre’s revival of Emlyn Williams’s The Wind of Heaven is a triumph – an overwhelming one.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“The Finborough Theatre has a knack of rediscovering forgotten plays and this is a particularly fascinating one, not seen here for seventy-five years, which gets as fine a production as you could wish for.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“The Wind of Heaven is an exceptional and outstanding production to round off a remarkable year at the Finborough.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“The Finborough punching above its weight again. A must see.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“This enterprising theatre struck gold in 2011 with its revival of Emlyn Williams’s Accolade…they now turn to an earlier Williams work.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“If Emlyn Williams, who lived for many years within walking distance of the Finborough Theatre, were still alive, he’d be mighty proud of the revival that Maynard and a mighty strong cast has served up.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Fully deserves revival.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“For a venue that is renowned for rediscovering rarely performed or even lost plays, this could be the best of its sort yet staged.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“A wonderful revival.” Amy Mawer, The Crumb

“Skilfully directed by Will Maynard, The Wind of Heaven – getting its first airing for 75 years – is another feather in the cap for Finborough’s artistic director Neil McPherson.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“A pre-Christmas treat with a Christmas undertone for good measure (what more could you ask for).” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“There is something wonderfully seasonal about Wind of Heaven at the Finborough Theatre.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“Faith, hope and community at a time of trauma and loss are at the core of a play by Emlyn Williams, appropriately revived in London for the first time in 75 years as a pre-Christmas treat.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Brings to the stage an important Welsh voice that deserves to be heard.” John O’Brien, London Theatre 1

“The Wind of Heaven still provides a controversial, yet compelling tale, as it questions religious morals, amongst an underlying battle of power and class.” Amy Mawer, The Crumb

“Heartwarming and heartbreaking.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“Two hours of immersive and intense theatre.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Gripping and moving.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“There are magic moments aplenty, appropriate for a play about the second coming.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Williams’ play presents an intriguing story about the limits of spiritual scepticism.” Mert Dilek, The Stage

“Beautifully set, well acted & directed.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“Gripping dramatically and extraordinarily eye-catching at every level, from scintillating performances to design and direction.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“The Finborough has made a reputation for rediscovering the work of writers no longer given much space elsewhere. Emlyn Williams…is one such.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“Finborough Theatre sparks its revival, with a mighty team of creatives by their side.” Amy Mawer, The Crumb

“A thrilling and beautifully staged production, performed by a superb acting company, both individually and as ensemble.” London Pub Theatres

“It’s lovely to hear the Celtic language, which adds real authenticity to the play.” Amy Mawer, The Crumb

“Superbly acted and…certainly well worth reviving.” John O’Brien, London Theatre 1

“Marvellously performed.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“The acting of the cast is impeccable, it feels raw and honest.” Amy Mawer, The Crumb

“The performances are impeccable.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“In terms of casting, it is spot on.” Michael Davis, Breaking the Fourth Wall

“Perceptive and penetrating performances.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Welsh singing of the highest order.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Quality Welsh singing.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“There are fine performances all round in this evenly balance troupe of actors.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“A uniformly fine cast is led by Rhiannon Neads as Dilys, with newcomer Kristy Philipps very impressive as Menna.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“Jamie Wilkes as Ellis switches plausibly from sharp-suited showman to devoted disciple and is staunchly supported by David Whitworth as his watchful sidekick, by Rhiannon Neads as a widowed sceptic turned true believer and by Louise Breckon-Richards as the loving mother of the boy messiah.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Strong support is provided by David Whitworth…Seiriol Tomos…and Louise Breckon-Richards.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“Will Maynard has secured fine performances from his cast, especially from Rhiannon Neads as Dilys…and Jamie Wilkes as the predatory Ambrose.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“Rhiannon Neads is powerful and determined as Dilys.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Played with panache by Jamie Wilkes.” Heather Neill, The Arts Desk

“Jamie Wilkes is a sensation.” David Guest, The Reviews Hub

“Jamie Wilkes flamboyantly carries off this role of a circus impresario.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“Played to the hilt by Melissa Woodbridge.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“Woodbridge’s cameo as Mrs Lake is also a treat to behold.” Jeff Prestridge, Close-Up Culture

“Melissa Woodbridge’s glamorous Mrs Lake, is strikingly effective and winning.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“Seiriol Tomos, as local man Evan, treats us to some fine Welsh lyricism.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“A special commendation for a performance of wonder by Seiriol Tomos. His Evan is a privilege to watch.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“David Whitworth plays Ambrose’s assistant, Pitter, with dignity and stoicism.” Richard Beck, Broadway Baby

“Whitworth is perfect.” Michael Davis, Breaking the Fourth Wall

“Benedict Barker’s role as Gwyn is mute but he does a great job of conveying its mystery and spirituality.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“Will Maynard’s production is simply superb, having to convey as much offstage as on.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“Beautiful design by Ceci Calf, lighting by Ryan Joseph Stafford and sound design and direction by Julian Starr and Rhiannon Drake, respectively, enhance the mood and the story wonderfully.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

“Excellent set and costumes from Ceci Calf & Isobel Pellow respectively.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“The challenge the Finborough space presents designers is invariably risen to but this time Ceci Calf has created a superb set.” William Russell, ReviewsGate

“Meeting the usual high Finborough standards, designer Ceci Calf conveys her home through piled furniture and a voyeuristic window.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“A hugely atmospheric soundscape and music by Justin Starr & Rhiannon Drake adds much.” Gareth James, Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog

“Tasteful period costumes and lithe changes in lighting help create a world imbued with a heavenly glow.” Mert Dilek, The Stage

“A visit to the Finborough is a treat in itself. A welcoming smile by two charming, dimpled young ladies at the theatre desk an hour before the show, with a programme/playscript and a ticket (all rarities these days) and admission half an hour before curtain, is most conducive to a good mood.” Saul Reichlin, London Pub Theatres

Tuesday, 26 November - Saturday, 21 December

Tickets and Times

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

Approximately two hours including one interval of fifteen minutes