Beautiful Thing is set during a long, hot summer on the Thamesmead Estate in South East London, where two teenage boys gradually discover their mutual affection and love. The play, which received its world premiere at the Bush Theatre in 1993, won the John Whiting Award in 1994 following a revival and tour, which ended at the Donmar Warehouse and then transferred to the West End’s Duke of York’s. A film version was released in 1996. Amongst the now-famous names who appeared in earlier versions were Jonny Lee Miller, Rhys Ifans and Ben Daniels.
In Frow’s production, young lovers Jamie and Ste are played by Andrew Garfield (who previously appeared in The Laramie Project at the Sound) and Gavin Brocker (who made his professional debut in the role). Also in the cast are Naomi Bentley as mouthy teen neighbour Leah, Sophie Stanton (who played Leah in original Bush production) as Jamie’s mother Sandra and Leo Bill as Sandra’s younger boyfriend Tony. The production is designed by Ben Stones, with lighting by Emma Chapman. It’s presented by NML Productions.
Jonathan Harvey’s other plays include Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club, Guiding Star, Hushabye Mountain, Out in the Open and Babies, which won him both the George Devine Award and the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award. Harvey’s screen work includes the adaptation of Beautiful Thing as well as series like Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, At Home with the Braithwaites and Coronation Street.
- by Terri Paddock