Previewed 26 March 2014, Opened 3 April 2014, Closed 21 June 2014 at the Trafalgar Studio 1 in London
A major revival of Julian Mitchell's 1981 play Another Country in London at the Trafalgar Studios following an acclaimed season in 2013 at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, East Sussex.
The 1930s: an English Public School. Guy Bennett and Tommy Judd are both outsiders - one is coming to terms with his homosexuality and the other is already a committed Marxist. But the Establishment has traditional ways of dealing with rebels and when a scandal rocks the school, the young men must confront their beliefs and make choices which will have a momentous impact on their lives... and on the future of their country.
Julian Mitchell's fictionalised account of the spy Guy Burgess and the Communist John Cornford, who died in the Spanish Civil War, won the Olivier Award for 'Best Play' when it was originally presented in the West End in 1982.
The cast for Another Country in London features Rob Callender as 'Guy Bennett', Will Attenborough 'Tommy Judd', Cai Brigden, Dario Coates, Mark Donald, Bill Milner, James Parris, Mark Quartley and Julian Wadham. The production is directed by Jeremy Herrin with designs by Peter Mckintosh. This production was originally staged at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre during September and October 2013.
When the production opened in London Michael Coveney in the Independent wrote that "as a schooldays play about hierarchies, sex, suicide and loneliness, the piece hasn't dated, while Julian Mitchell's elegant, incisive writing still pleases and provokes in equal measure." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian highlighted how "Jeremy Herrin's spry production, fluidly designed by Peter McKintosh evokes the hothouse world of an English public school" while "the young cast capture the emotional consequences of this casually cruel and hollow world." Dominic Maxwell in the Times thought it was a "strongly acted revival" aided by "Peter McKintosh's evocative, wood-panelled set" while Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described it as being a "sure-footed production" and Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail concluded by saying that "Jeremy Herrin's production, first seen at Chichester last year, is an enjoyable two and a half hours." When this same production was originally seen in Chichester in 2013 Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "at a time when we seem to be largely governed by Old Etonians and other public schoolboys, this revival seems exceptionally timely. Jeremy Herrin, who has repeatedly shown a great gift for coaxing superb performances from young actors, directs a gripping, detailed production that does equal justice to the play's humour and its gathering sense of cruelty and darkness." Libby Purves in the Times thought that the "setting and performances are immaculate: gloomy panelling, iron beds and tin jugs; a cricket pitch. The director, Jeremy Herrin, handles the young cast superbly." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that "even if Mitchell's play takes its time, it still strikes me as uncannily perceptive on the subject of the seeds of betrayal." Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that "director Jeremy Herrin brings out the best in his young cast... a topping revival."
"Canny director that he is, Jeremy Herrin recognises in his revival of the work at the Trafalgar Studios that time has moved on and the homosexuality of Guy Bennett - clearly based on the Old Etonian traitor Guy Burgess - is handled a lot more matter-of factly... Accordingly, Herrin switches the emphasis to the public school system, which this thought-provoking piece gently suggests makes men different. Given the educations that a lot of the current residents of Downing Street have had, this makes the play very timely indeed. And, in its own way, quite frightening. Julian Mitchell writes of a claustrophobic world of hypocrisy, entitlement and a group of young men who try to handle things in a way that suits them - rather than the wider society. It is a play ultimately about the uses of power. If that all sounds rather hectoring, it is not at all: the play - unlike the film - is very funny indeed." The Sunday Telegraph
"Unlike other writers who have traced Guy Burgess's treachery to the ideological ferment of Cambridge, Julian Mitchell traces it to the romantic hothouse of Eton. In doing so, he skilfully marries the popular genres of public school story and spy thriller. Guy Bennett (Rob Callender), the Burgess surrogate who breaks the school code by bragging about his conquests, wants privilege without responsibility. When this is denied him, he turns for support to school communist Tommy Judd (Will Attenborough) and takes the first tentative steps towards Moscow. The original production made stars of Rupert Everett, Kenneth Branagh, Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Firth and proved an excellent breeding ground for such actors as Julian Wadham, who returns 30 years on to give a beautifully judged account of a middle-aged poet. It is to be hoped that Jeremy Herrin's sensitive and atmospheric production will provide a similar springboard for Callender, Attenborough and the rest of the excellent young cast." The Express on Sunday
"Anyone still lingering under the misapprehension that most English public schools of the 1930s were happy, sepia-tinted places will emerge thoroughly unsettled. What director Jeremy Herrin's production crucially lacks, however, is pace: scenes move with a slowness over which the threat of boredom hovers like a dark cloud. Some of the fault lies with Mitchell's script. Much of the dramatic action takes place off stage, leaving the characters with very little to do but talk: which they do, endlessly... Still, there are some fine performances, particularly from Will Attenborough as the studious leftie, Judd. And it is interesting to observe, at a distance of more than 80 years, that while the public schools of today are, presumably, considerably less awful, their alumni can still expect to dominate our political arena." The Observer
Another Country in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 26 March 2014, opened on 3 April 2014 and closed on 21 June 2014.