All About My Mother

Previewed 25 August 2007, Opened 4 September 2007, Closed 24 November 2007 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

The World Premiere of Samuel Adamson's play, based on the film by Pedro Almodovar, All About My Mother in London starring Lesley Manville, Mark Gatiss and Diana Rigg and directed by Tom Cairns.

Following the tragic death of her beloved son, Manuela goes to Barcelona in search of the father he never knew. But before she can exorcise her guilt, she gets caught up in the lives of three women: Agrado, a long-lost transvestite friend, Rosa, a young nun in search of love, and Huma Rojo, the famous actress her son so admired. Just as Manuela's life begins to have meaning again, her son's father returns and her journey of discovery and forgiveness comes full circle... A passionate hymn to the strength and spirit of women; a kaleidoscopic drama embracing motherhood, love and desire; a homage to the great Hollywood movies.

The cast features Lesley Manville as 'Manuela', Mark Gatiss as 'Agrado' and Diana Rigg as 'Huma Rojo' with Joanne Froggatt as 'Sister Rosa', Eleanor Bron as 'Madre de Rosa', Colin Morgan as 'Esteban', Charlotte Randle as 'Nina Cruz', Bradley Freegard, Robert Galas, Lucy-Anne Holmes, Colin Morgan, Eileen Nicholas, Yvonne O'Grady and Michael Shaeffer.

Directed by Tom Cairns, with sets by Hildegard Bechtler, costumes by Moritz Junge, lighting by Bruno Poet, music by Alberto Iglesias, stage score by Ben and Max Ringham, and sound by Christopher Shutt.

The screen version won international acclaim and an Oscar for Pedro Almodovar. In a career spanning 30 years, his other films have included Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Talk to Her and Volver. After nearly 20 years, Pedro Almodovar has permitted the production of a major play based on one of his films, and for the first time the rights have been granted for an English language presentation.

Diana Rigg's London theatre credits include the title role in David Grindley's revival of Joanna Murray-Smith's Honour at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2006; 'Violet Venable' in Michael Grandage's revival of Tennesse Williams' Suddenly Last Summer at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2004; 'Flora Humble' in John Caird's production of Charlotte Jones' Humble Boy at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in 2001; 'Martha' in Howard Davies' revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Almeida Theatre, and transfer to the Aldwych Theatre in 1996; the title role in Jonathan Kent's revival of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1995; the title role in Jonathan Kent's revival of Euripides' Medea, in an adaptation by Alistair Elliot, at the Almeida Theatre in 1992, and transfer to the West End Wyndham's Theatre in 1993; 'Phyllis Stone' in Mike Ackrent's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1987; 'Celimene' in John Dexter's revival of Moliere's The Misanthrope, for the National Theatre, at the Old Vic Theatre in 1973; 'Lady Macbeth' in Michael Blakemore's revival of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, for the National Theatre, at the Old Vic Theatre in 1972; and 'Bianca' in Maurice Daniels' revival of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Aldwych Theatre in 1961.

"Let me say at the outset that this is a play intended for a somewhat specialist audience: those people in London who have seen Pedro Almodovar's classic 1999 foreign language film of the same name. I admit that I haven't, and I admit, too, that as a consequence I found much of Samuel Adamson's take on the film utterly impenetrable. The highly stylised approach that the director Tom Cairns, with his designer Hildegard Bechtler, take to telling the story scarcely helps matters. It says much for Lesley Manville that she still manages to make an impression as Manuela, a grieving mother who travels from Argentina to Barcelona to track down the father of her son Esteban who has been killed in a road accident." The Sunday Telegraph

"More often than not, the transposition of a film to the stage underlines the essential strengths and weaknesses of both genres. Theatre is lousy at what films do best: flipping from one location to another, zooming in on a wordless facial expression. A film clunks embarrassingly when the dialogue dares to be anything but naturalistic. Pedro Almodovar's camp and quirky tragicomedy All About My Mother is a film about mother-love and loss, about the breaking and mending of hearts, about acting out roles, about truth and lies. It is drenched in blood, tears and, more surprisingly, theatre, featuring great chunks of plays, in particular Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Lorca's Blood Wedding. Strikingly, in Samuel Adamson's stage adaptation these are the rare moments oftrue drama, when the acting suddenly takes flight. Quite simply, the rest ofthe writing doesn't rise to the necessary dramatic challenge... With everyone sounding so English, it is difficult to believe we are supposed to be in free-wheeling, gender-bending Barcelona, where transvestite whores and pregnant nuns are de rigueur." The Mail on Sunday

All About My Mother in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 25 August 2007, opened on 4 September 2007, and closed on 24 November 2007.