Previewed 5 July 2007, opened 12 July 2007, closed 15 September 2007 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
A major revival of David Storey's 1969 drama, In Celebration in London featuring Orlando Bloom and directed by Anna Mackmin.
In Celebration is about three brothers - Andrew, Colin and Steven - who return home to the northern roots of their childhood for a family reunion. Although they have returned to celebrate, the explosive complexities of family life and long-held grievances are unlikely to improve the chances of a decent party... Compelling and emotionally thrilling, In Celebration is an exploration of family love and of how the consequences of best intentions can threaten to destroy treasured hopes and dreams. David Storey's modern classic took audiences by storm at the Royal Court in the 1960's and established him as one of the country's most powerful playwrights.
The cast for In Celebration in London includes Orlando Bloom as 'Steven Shaw', Gareth Farr as 'Colin Shaw' and Paul Hilton as 'Andrew Shaw' with Tim Healy as 'Mr Shaw', Dearbhla Molloy as 'Mrs Shaw', Lynda Baron as 'Mrs Burnett' and Ciaran McIntyre as 'Reardon'. The production is directed by Anna Mackmin with choreography by Scarlett Mackmin, designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by John Leonard and music by Stephen Warbeck.
"There are some impressive performances in particular Paul Hilton as Andrew, the tortured failure who tears back all the pretence of family unity... Gareth Farr as the solid, worried Colin, with his cars, salary and secrets is powerful and telling in what is a difficult role. But sadly Orlando Bloom, in his London stage debut, is disappointing. This is not entirely his fault. The part of the frustrated and crushed Steven is too small and lacks the opportunity for spreading any dramatic wings. But the evening really went to the ever-splendid Tim Healy as the father, a man full of miner's bluff bonhomie... Dearbhla Molloy gave a finely drawn portrait of the mother a matrimonial power, wielding influence in a pinny. But, truthfully, this play is dated. There is no longer a chasm between mining fathers and their socially mobile children." The Daily Express
"It may seem quaint, but In Celebration is still moving... David Storey's portrait has no class axe to grind and is full of empathy. Tim Healy is wonderful as the old miner, proud of his sons, but baffled by their restlessness. And what of Orlando Bloom, the principal attraction? He may make an acceptable elf, but can he really act? Yes, he can... Rather than stage presence, he exudes absence, but that is a compliment. He is in character as Steven, wrapped in sad, wounded speechlessness... It is thought-provoking and sometimes intense stuff, ending with painful revelations, or at least accusations, and a conclusion that is agonisingly inconclusive. Emotional repression and inarticulacy, Storey convincingly demonstrates, are not afflictions confined to the English middle classes." The Sunday Times
"No disrespect to David Storey, but he's not the sort of playwright you'd imagine attracting the attention of paparazzi and autograph-hungry teenage girls. Nevertheless, such was the feverish scene outside the theatre when a new production of his 1969 play In Celebration opened this week... It's good news for Orlando Bloom - Storey's emotional script provides a real workout for actors in search of a challenge, and good news for Storey, who might struggle to bring new audiences to a play about the 40th wedding anniversary of a miner set in the sitting-room of a northern terrace. By and large Bloom does well as Steven, the taciturn failed intellectual making a pilgrimage back to his working-class roots. His heart-throb looks have been toned down by an unflattering moustache, and the strength of his character lies in his expressive silences, which he expresses admirably. Apart from Storey's controlled script the reason to see this production is Tim Healy's patriarch, a miner of 49 years, whose wit, love and straight-talking make poetry of despair." The Sunday Telegraph
"There's nothing like a jolly family get together to set an avalanche of skeletons, tidily stacked out of sight and, officially, out of mind, tumbling out of the closet. Such is the premise of David Storey's In Celebration from 1969... In this moving piece, three sons, educated out of being miners and into th emiddle classes, go home for their parents' 40th wedding anniversary. At first, all goes smoothly, if coolly... All the boys are suffering from an overload of guilt, partly for rejectingtheir father's way of life and finding nothing, to their minds, moremeaningful; partly for failing to defrost their deep-frozen mother. A low-key Orlando Bloom makes an affecting Stephen, depressive and silent, until he sleeps, when his screaming nightmares wake everyone. The acting is excellent but it's Tim Healy's warm, proud, uncomprehending Dad who breaks your heart. Compelling, if desperate, drama." The Mail on Sunday
Orlando Bloom, who enjoyed two seasons with the National Youth Theatre, trained The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Since graduating Orlando has worked exclusively on screen, mostly notably in The Lord of the Rings trilogy in which he played 'Legolas' and The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy in which he played 'Will Turner'. Orlando Bloom's other film credits include Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, The Kelly Gang, The Calcium Kid, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Elizabethtown and, most recently, At World's End which has just been released.
David Storey's In Celebration received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 1969 in a productioon featuring Alan Bates, James Bolam, Constance Chapman, Brian Cox, Gabrielle Dray and Bill Owen who all reprised their stage roles in the subsequent film version which was directed by Lindsay Anderson, who had also directed the stage version. David Storey said: "In Celebration was written in three days. Its subject was one which had preoccupied me long before the occasion when, at the age of seventeen, I had announced to my parents my intention of becoming an 'artist'. Art, to their minds, was not only a waste of time but an explicit rejection of all their sacrifices and efforts. How, for instance, was I to equate the enlightenment afforded by my education with the exigencies and deprivations of working-class life? The conflict between the injustices of the latter and the privileges associated with the former had never been more apparent. Having initially endeavoured to encapsulate my native dilemma in a series of novels, I now attempted to do so in a play. Converging on their old, back-street home to celebrate their parents' fortieth wedding anniversary, the three educated sons of the Shaw family (their father is a miner) discover that what unites them as surely as anticipation is pain: grief underscores pleasure, loss counters gain: the ambiguities of familial love become increasingly, and despairingly, apparent."
In Celebration in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 5 July 2007, opened on 12 July 2007 and closed on 15 September 2007.