Burney Comedy Debuts after Two CenturiesDate: 16 May 2000
Fanny Burney, an 18th century diarist, receives her West End debut next month when her comedy of London society, A Busy Day, opens at the Lyric Theatre on 19 June, previews from 7 June 2000.
Burney was one of the most famous diarists of her time, ranking alongside Samuel Pepys. She remains a rich source for historians - and others looking for period detail. Her description of being chased around Kew Gardens by King George II was a key scene in the film The Madness of King George, based on Alan Bennett's play.
A Busy Day is set in London's West End at the turn of the 19th century. It depicts, with a wry eye, the St James Street clubs, salons and ballrooms of the Regency capital as London was beginning to come to terms with the new wealth in the City and emerging revolutionary ideas of social equality.
Burney's comedy was 'lost' until the 1980s when it came to light with the discovery of her husband's papers in the United States. A small scale production was seen in Bristol and at the The King's Head Theatre in 1993 and 1994. This is the first major production of this historic comedy.
The new production stars Stephanie Beacham, Sara Crowe, John McCallum and Ben Moor. Beacham's stage credits include Peter Hall's An Ideal Husband, though she's most known for her American TV roles in 'Dynasty' and 'Beverly Hills 90210'. Crowe's theatre credits include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, My Best Friend and the double bill of The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy. McCallum also appeared in Hall' 's An Ideal Husband as well as various films and plays, and Moor is best known for his acclaimed one-man show, which is a regular fixture at the annual Edinburgh Festival.
They are joined in the cast by Carolyn Backhouse, Robert Demeger, Stephanie Fayerman, Richard Kane, Ian Kelly, Carol Macready, Sara Markland, Simon Robson, Olga Sosnovska and Milo Twomey. A Busy Day is directed by Jonathan Church, with design by Ruari Murchison, music by John O'Hara and lighting by Nick Beadle.