Clybourne Park

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 26 August 2010, Opened 2 September 2010, Closed 2 October 2010 at the Royal Court Theatre
Previewed 28 January 2011, Opened 8 February 2011, Closed 7 May 2011 at the Wyndham's Theatre

The Royal Court Theatre present Bruce Norris' new play Clybourne Park in London at the Wyndham's Theatre

In 1959 Russ and Bev are selling their desirable two-bed at a knock-down price. This enables the first Black family to move into the neighbourhood, creating ripples of discontent amongst the cosy white urbanites of Clybourne Park. In 2009, the same property is being bought by Lindsey and Steve whose plans to raze the house and start again is met with a similar response. Are the issues festering beneath the floorboards actually the same fifty years on? Bruce Norris' satirical new play explores the fault line between race and property.

The cast at London's Royal Court Theatre featured Lorna Brown as 'Francine/Lena', Martin Freeman as 'Karl/Steve', Sarah Goldberg as 'Betsy/Lindsay', Michael Goldsmith as 'Kenneth', Lucian Msamati as 'Albert/Kevin', Steffan Rhodri as 'Russ/Dan', Sam Spruell as 'Jim/Tom', and Sophie Thompson as 'Bev/Kathy'.

The cast at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre featured Lorna Brown as 'Francine/Lena', Stephen Campbell Moore as 'Karl/Steve', Sarah Goldberg as 'Betsy/Lindsay', Michael Goldsmith as 'Kenneth', Lucian Msamati as 'Albert/Kevin', Stuart McQuarrie as 'Russ/Dan', Sam Spruell as 'Jim/Tom', and Sophie Thompson as 'Bev/Kathy'.

Jason Watkins was originally scheduled to take over the double role of 'Karl'/'Steve' for the West End transfer. Unfortunately due to the sudden death of his young daughter Maude from sepsis a month before previews where due to start, he withdrew from this production. Stephen Campbell Moore took over instead.

Directed by Dominic Cooke, with designs by Robert Innes Hopkins, lighting by Paule Constable, and sound by David McSeveney.

PLEASE NOTE: Age guidance: 14 plus.

"Clybourne Park, American playwright Bruce Norris's smart, spiky, provocative play about racism and property, is not just scabrously funny but also brilliantly cringe-making. In a sun-dappled suburban villa which middle-aged, middle-class Americans Russ and Bev are moving from, Russ sits silently spooning Neapolitan ice cream out of a tub. His wife twitters in a super-bright, high-pitched tone about the derivation of the word Neapolitan. Only when the vicar pops in does the subject which the couple are clearly avoiding - their son's suicide in this house when he got back from service in Korea - emerge. Their different ways of dealing with grief - she prattles on vacuously, he bottles it up - is tearing them apart. Their neighbours are preoccupied by other issues, so taboo that they should be unmentionable. Karl is, unfortunately, a stranger to common decency. Arriving with his deaf wife, Betsy, he tries to persuade Bev and Russ not to sell their house to 'coloured' people because it will bring down the price of the property... The second half begins 50 years later. It slowly dawns that the near derelict room on stage is the same one from the previous scene. The actors, now playing different characters, have gathered to discuss a bid by a young white couple to pull the house down and rebuild it. The residents of what is now a black neighbourhood object on historical grounds to the demolition. But do they really mean that they don't want white people taking over their hard won patch? Once again, this is a battle for territory on racial grounds. Dominic Cooke's flawlessly performed production... outrageously, shockingly entertaining." The Mail on Sunday

"Here's a rare audience laugh - half shriek, half gasp, giving way to a shocked hand clamped over the mouth. It detonates with increasing frequency during Bruce Norris's brilliantly bracing play, which tests the boundaries of the sayable in America. We see the same house in suburban Chicago, 50 years apart... This isn't a house, but ideological real estate, as the incendiary second act makes clear... Doubling roles in past and present, Dominic Cooke's superlative cast creases fake smiles over tense expressions... America can't manage a sane conversation about race - as Norris's diamond script makes clear, the words always seem wrong. Race isn't the only minefield - there is no safe subject or attitude, men can't speak to women, or whites to blacks. Text and production both are unspeakably good." The Sunday Times

Clybourne Park in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 28 January 2011, opened on 8 February 2011 and closed on 7 May 2011.