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Previewed 24 September 2008, Opened 29 September 2008, Closed 18 October 2008 at the Haymarket Theatre in London
David Joss Buckley's stage adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's novel Girl With A Pearl Earring in London directed by Joe Dowling.
Johannes Vermeer is the greatest painter of his time. When he hires a young girl, Griet to help in his house, it is not long before she becomes more than a servant: she starts to help him in his studio, learning the art of painting by watching the master. And then, secretly, Vermeer begins to paint her and Griet becomes model and muse for his greatest masterpiece - Girl with a Pearl Earring.
The cast for Girl With A Pearl Earring in London features Adrian Dunbar as 'Vermeer', Maggie Service as 'Tanneke', Kimberley Nixon as 'Griet', Niall Buggy as 'Van Ruijven', Jonathan Bailey as 'Pieter', Lesley Vickerage and Sara Kestelman. The production is directed by Joe Dowling with lighting by Peter Mumford. Joe Dowling's West End credits include Sean O'Casey's Plough and the Stars at the Garrick Theatre in 1995.
"This stage adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's bestselling novel about Vermeer, his wife and his maidservant is compellingly acted and stays faithful to the spirit of the painter in a number of ways. Adrian Dunbar is admirably measured as Vermeer... Maggie Service is wonderful as the, er, less favoured maidservant, Tanneke... while Kimberley Nixon is radiant, innocent and strong-willed as the pretty one, Griet... Quietly meditative and moving, with a slow charm, this is an engaging meditation on perennial themes such as the nature of innocence, love (both sacred and profane) and the cost of creativity, both to the creator and to his family." The Sunday Times
"You've gazed at Vermeer's mysterious and sensual painting Girl With A Pearl Earring. You've read Tracy Chevalier's atmospheric novel that becomes a portrait of both the artist and the girl in their complex, erotic relationship. You've seen the movie in which Scarlett Johansson's Griet and Colin Firth's Vermeer bring both the painting and the novel to visually ravishing life. So what new theatrical layer can David Joss Buckley's stage adaptation add? None. Instead, the Vermeer has been reduced to a sketch; Chevalier shrunk to Janet and John-style simplicity. The story of an older artist confusing his feverish quest for artistic perfection with his intense desire for the fresh young maid suddenly seems dull and predictable. Peter Mumford's sets and lighting and Fotini Dimou's costumes capture something of the superficial texture of Delft in the 17th Century, but there's little going on beneath these sumptuous surfaces... But newcomer Kimberley Nixon's performance as Griet has a lovely directness, subtly developing as she is drawn dangerously deeper into the obsessive painter's world. The rest of the characters fight a losing battle with their two-dimensionality." The Mail on Sunday
"This play has taken a lengthy route on its way to the stage. It started out as Tracy Chevalier's highly acclaimed 1999 novel, which examines the fictional relationship between a housemaid and the 17th century Dutch painter Vermeer... The book was then made into a film, starring Colin Firth as the moody Vermeer and Scarlett Johanssen as the maid, Griet... Now, adapted by David Joss Buckley, the saga has reached the boards. It should not have made the journey. What was a gripping novel and a moving film is now reduced to a ponderous crawl so tiresome that I was not surprised some in the audience actually fell asleep... Only Niall Buggy, as Vermeer's patron Van Ruijven, saves the evening with a performance that combines wicked lust with randy humour. It is sad that this production fails to get to the very heart of what inspires a great artist." The Daily Express
"Girl with a Pearl Earring feels like a very old and stodgy piece of writing. In fact it is based on a book scarcely a decade old that was made into a reasonably good film in 2003 with Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson playing the painter Vermeer and the woman who was the inspiration for perhaps his most famous work. David Joss Buckley's adaptation - along with Peter Mumford's gloomy lighting and the pompous, uninvolving acting of Adrian Dunbar and Kimberley Nixon in the principal roles - is all terribly reverential, but I wonder why. It passed muster as a film, thanks to the charisma of its stars and some moody direction from Paul Webber, but, goodness me, it makes for a boring and pointless play." The Sunday Telegraph
Girl With A Pearl Earring in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 24 September 2008, opened on 29 September 2008 and closed on 18 October 2008 - was booking to 1 November 2008.