De Jongh's Plague Transfers to Duchess, 11 FebDate: 19 December 2008
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 13 Mar 2008), Nicholas de Jongh's Plague Over England, which premiered at the Finborough theatre in March, has confirmed its long-anticipated West End transfer. It will run at the Duchess theatre from 11 February 2009 for a limited season to 16 May, replacing current incumbent Buddy, which closes on 7 February (See News, 12 Nov 2008).
Set in 1953, Plague Over England centres on the actor John Gielgud when, at the height of his fame, he was arrested in a Chelsea public lavatory. He pleaded guilty the following morning to the charge of persistently importuning men for immoral purposes. Poised to appear in the West End in a play he was directing and recently knighted, his conviction caused a national sensation – breaking the great taboo of public discussion of homosexuality.
Writer Nicholas de Jongh is the Evening Standard's often acerbic theatre critic, and enjoyed the praise of his critical colleagues during Plague Over England's sell-out four-week run at the Finborough. The play was also recently nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award, in the Best Off-West End Production category (See News, 5 Dec 2008).
Tamara Harvey directs, with West End casting still to be announced. Jasper Britton, who played John Gielgud at the Finborough, is thought to be out the running after rumours of "artistic differences" with writer de Jongh (See The Goss, 3 Nov 2008). It's produced in the West End by Bill Kenwright.
- By Theo Bosanquet