Luther Gascoigne, a Nottinghamshire miner, and socially ambitious Minnie have been married for just six weeks. Luther’s mother disapproves; in her view Minnie’s pretensions make her an unsuitable match for her son. When an explosive revelation from Luther’s past is unexpectedly revealed, it threatens to derail the married couple’s new life together.
Set in 1912 against the backdrop of a bitter miners’ strike, The Daughter-in-Law, which was never performed in its author’s lifetime, is an unjustly neglected classic drama. Full of passion, sexual tension, and class conflict, The Daughter-in-Law affirms DH Lawrence, more commonly known for his novels and poetry, as a playwright of the first order.
Taking the roles of Luther and Minnie are Alun Raglan and Natalie Grady. Alun, who starred in the Library Theatre Company’s Manchester Evening News Theatre Award-winning production of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness in spring 2007, is familiar to TV viewers as Daniel Wolfenden in the hit ITV drama At Home With the Braithwaites. He was also a regular in ITV’s Making Waves, in which he played Alex.
Wigan-born Natalie Grady, who was a member of the National Theatre cast of Rafta Rafta, which won a prestigious Lawrence Olivier Award in 2008 for Best New Comedy, returns to the Library Theatre Company after her appearance as Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest, the Library Theatre Company’s final production at its former home, Manchester Central Library, in spring 2010.
Diane Fletcher, plays Mrs Gascoigne. DH Lawrence did not write many plays but Diane has the distinction of having appeared in a production of his 1914 play The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd at Nottingham Playhouse in 1975, amongst a host of credits in theatres around the country and in the West End over the past 40 years. She also featured in Roman Polanski’s film version of Macbeth, and has appeared in a number of classic TV dramas, notably House of Cards.
Luther’s brother Joe, also a miner, is played by Paul Simpson, who appeared in the Library Theatre Company’s production of Ayub Khan-Din’s All The Way Home last autumn. Susan Twist, another familiar face to many on the local theatre scene and on TV programmes such as Coronation Street, Doctors, Brookside, and The Royal, plays Mrs Purdy. The cast is completed by newcomer Max Calandrew.
The Daughter In-Law runs at the Lowry from 23 February - 10 March.