Peter Gill’s revival of Harley Granville Barker’s 1903 English classic The Voysey Inheritance opened at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre last night (Tuesday 25 April 2006).

Dominic West (pictured) and Julian Glover star in the play in which Edward’s highly principled world turns upside down when his father reveals that he’s been illegally speculating with clients’ money. The cast also features Nancy Carroll, John Nettleton, Andrew Wooddall and Lucy Briers. The production continues in the NT Lyttelton repertoire until 7 June 2006.

Critics agreed the darkly comic satire of Edwardian life has received a well-timed revival, and enjoyed Gill’s production which, in the main, they found livelier than the last time the play was at the National, in a production directed by former artistic director Richard Eyre in the NT Cottesloe in 1989.

** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to The Voysey Inheritance - including a FREE drink at our exclusive post-show reception with the cast! – on Wednesday 31 May 2006 - click here for more details! **


  • Michael Coveney on Whatsonstage.com - “The greatness of the play lies in the way Granville Barker takes his theme into the tainted real lives of the beneficiaries - Edward’s brothers, his mother (a smiling bird-like creature in Doreen Mantle’s portrait of someone who knew about it all along and played “deaf”) and spinsterish sister (Lucy Briers)…. The stage is full of riveting performances”. He concluded: “One hundred years after its premiere at the Court, Granville Barker’s classic remains a play for today with high style and true vengeance.”

  • Rhoda Koenig in the Independent - “Peter Gill's splendidly crisp and well-cast production - far livelier than the 1989 Richard Eyre production in the Cottesloe - gets tremendous fun, both subtle and broad, out of the various Voyseys and their responses to the news that ‘pater’ kept them all happy through embezzlement. Andrew Woodall, as Edward's older brother Booth, is a hilarious model of empty pomposity…” However, she was disappointed with “Julian Glover as Voysey, who bellows his entire part, ignoring the juice to be squeezed out of its emotional blackmail and sexual rivalry.” And, according to Koenig, “the play as a whole is too long and leisurely, and the last scene undramatic”.

  • Michael Billington in the Guardian - “Gill's excellent production proves that the play is more than a topical assault on financial fraud: it is also a comprehensive attack on Edwardian England.” He believes the production “reminds us of the subversiveness of Granville Barker's well-upholstered play and the acting has the in-depth quality of the National at its best”. Contrary to Koenig, he declared Julian Glover “excellent” and said the overall effect was “in short, a first-rate evening”.

  • Benedict Nightingale in The Times - “Peter Gill’s superficially lavish, emotionally lucid revival at the National convinces me that Barker wrote nothing finer than The Voysey Inheritance… The play is often funny… an exposé of hypocrisy, pretence and the Maxwell-like display people mistake for financial solidity… But Barker goes far further, using characters to ask radical questions about the correlation of need and possession, the sources of wealth, the happiness money can and can’t bring, the subtle corruptions it causes. Gill cuts some of this, which is a pity but does mean that the play never gets too preachy.”

    ** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to The Voysey Inheritance - including a FREE drink at our exclusive post-show reception with the cast! – on Wednesday 31 May 2006 - click here for more details! **

    - by Caroline Ansdell