Enid Bagnold's 1951 play tells the story of an old woman's attempts to find a governess to help tame an unruly granddaughter and an unruly garden. After a string of frailer candidates and despite her mysterious background, Miss Madrigal is appointed as the new governess of Laurel, a somewhat 'difficult' teenage girl. Setting about her task with vigour, Madrigal is determined to do whatever it takes to straighten out her troubled young charge before she becomes totally unmanageable.
The Chalk Garden was Bagnold's biggest stage success. It enjoyed runs on both Broadway and in the West End and was made into a 1964 film starring Hayley Mills, Deborah Kerr, John Mills and Edith Evans. Also a novelist, Bagnold was probably best known for her 1935 book National Velvet.
Lipman had to pull out of the production last month due to family illness. Miss Madrigal is now played by Belinda Lang, who was most recently seen in the tour and West End return of Yasmina Reza's Life x 3. Lang's other stage credits include Things We Do for Love, Three Sisters Two, Blythe Spirit, My Boy Jack and On Approval. She's familiar to television audiences for series such as Two Point Four Children.
Lang is joined in the cast of The Chalk Garden by Moira Lister as Grandmother (The Constant Wife, Over the Moon ), Katherine Heath as Laurel (Daisy Pulls It Off), Nickolas Grace (Mahler's Conversion, Tom & Viv, Brideshead Revisited) and Gerald Harper (TV's Hadleigh and Adam Adamant).
The Chalk Garden is directed by theatre critic-cum-director Sheridan Morley whose other credits include The Lodger, Noel and Gertie and Song at Twilight, which starred both Vanessa and Corin Redgrave in its 1999 West End run. The revival is produced by Bill Kenwright.
Following Windsor, The Chalk Garden will visit Brighton, Milton Keynes, Richmond, Bromley, Woking and Canterbury.
- by Terri Paddock