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Previewed 16 July 2008, Opened 25 July 2008, Closed 20 September 2008 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
Revival of David Eldridge's play Under The Blue Sky in London starring Francesca Annis, Lisa Dillon, Chris O'Dowd, Dominic Rowan, Catherine Tate.
Under The Blue Sky is a darkly comic yet tender play about three relationships, six lives and the nature of love and friendship, both true and unrequited. Originally staged at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in 2000, this revival is directed by Anna Mackmin with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Arditti. Please Note: Under 14s will not be admitted.
"It's about three pairs of teachers embroiled in vaguely connected love stories. Catherine Tate's pairing is the lewdest of the three as she attempts drunken sex with Dominic Rowan's besotted but virginal history teacher who runs the school's military training sessions. Chris O'Dowd covers the failed love angle as a spineless young man who is useful in the kitchen but hopeless in the bedroom when it comes to his tragically infatuated 'friend' played by Lisa Dillon. The soft-focused ending, though, falls to Francesca Annis as a headmistressy older woman who moves away to the country to give her younger lover a chance to start a new life. If she is coolly detached, Nigel Lindsay, as the man she left behind, is a big-hearted Essex geezer who keeps you emotionally involved. It's Catherine Tate, however, who rocks the show as a reckless, middle-aged sex-predator. What comes out of her mouth is pure slurry, but Tate provides a visceral and tragic centre to Anna Mackmin's alternately dreamy and nightmarish production." The Mail on Sunday
"This play, premiered in 2000, starts with a bang as the reverberations of the IRA bombing at Canary Wharf in London are felt in a nearby flat. But it is quickly apparent that the focus of David Eldridge's funny, moving and, at times, uncomfortable work is politics of a sexual nature. The play examines the love lives of six teachers as they flail around in various degrees of requitedness... All three parts are subtly inter-connected and provide an effective meditation on the nature of relationships. The fact that all the characters are teachers almost seems incidental and we are left grasping for a reason why their profession has been seized on. There is an independent-versus-state school debate and a cursory glance towards the increasing difficulties encountered in what was once a respected profession - but classroom concerns are presented as infinitely secondary to private lives." The Daily Express
"Composed of three successive duologues, Under the Blue Sky is essentially a two-parter: a farcical build-up, hysterical in all senses of the word, as Helen tries to woo Nick and Michelle rejects Graham; then a cathartic release, as Anne and Robert tackle their own problematic relationship... In other words, this is about love, even if all the characters are teachers... There is a pattern: the women storm and the men try to weather them, each in their own way. In the midst of all this passion, we get the odd reference to secondary education, which seems a little spurious." The Sunday Times
Under The Blue Sky in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 16 July 2008, opened on 25 July 2008 and closed on 20 September 2008.