Lillian Hellman's Acclaimed The Autumn Garden To Open At Jermyn Street Theatre This October
| By Jacob Porteous
This October, Jermyn Street Theatre presents the UK premiere of The Autumn Garden by acclaimed US playwright, screenwriter and political activist Lillian Hellman. Nominated for the New York Critic’s Circle Award and considered by many as her best work (above the better known Little Foxes and Children’s Hour), the play opened on Broadway in 1951 to critical acclaim.
Set in The Gulf of Mexico, 1949, The Autumn Garden tells the story of the formerly well off Tuckerman family who have hit hard times. To make ends meet, Constance Tuckerman opens up the old summerhouse to family and friends as paying guests. As the season draws to a close and the guests prepare for one last party, tensions rise as Constance awaits the arrival of her former fiancé and his glamorous wife.
The Autumn Garden is a tender and wryly funny study of the defeats, disappointments and diminished expectations of people reaching middle age by one of the most famous and controversial American writers of the twentieth century.
The cast comprises Mark Healy (RSC, The Woman in Black), Hilary Maclean (Outlander Sony Pictures, Lady Macbeth - Manchester Royal Exchange), Lucy Akhurst (Spaced - BBC), Madalena Alberto (Evita – Dominion Theatre), Tom Mannion (An Inspector Calls tour), Mark Aiken, Sam Coulson, Gretchen Egolf, Madeleine Millar, Susan Porrett, Salim Sai and Leonie Schleising.
The Autumn Garden is the second work in Jermyn Street Theatre’s Autumn Season of classic writers which also includes A A Milne’s Dover Road (Sept 6 to October 1), Strindberg’s Women (November 1 to 26) and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (November 29 to December 21).
Recent work at the theatre has included I’m Getting my Act Together and Taking it On The Road, Michael Brandon and Cherie Lunghi starring in Off the King’s Road, the revival of J B Priestley’s I Have Been Here Before and Anthony Biggs’ production of I Loved Lucy transferred to The Lucille LortelTheatre New York in July. This work builds on the theatre’s other recent successes, which include the UK premiere of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land, the acclaimed premiere of Eugene O’Neill’s The First Man and Jonathan Lewis’s comedy A Level Playing Field.
Anthony Biggs became Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre in January 2013. His previous productions at the theatre include the recent Flowers of The Forest, The South African Season, The Potsdam Quartet, the UK premiere of Ibsen’s St John’s Night, Charles Morgan’s The River Line, Ibsen’s Little Eyolf and the revival of Frederick Lonsdale’s On Approval.