Written before Osborne’s groundbreaking Look Back in Anger in 1956, Epitaph for George Dillon was not staged until a year later in Oxford. It transferred to London’s Royal Court, where Look Back in Anger premiered, and then on to the West End (also at the Comedy) with Robert Stephens in tht title role. It was later staged in New York, where it was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play.
In a lower middle class household in south London, the Elliots lead an unhappy suburban life. But this is disrupted when Kate bring home a surrogate for her son killed in the war. This aspiring actor-penniless writer is the charismatic bohemian George Dillon, played by Fiennes.
Well known internationally for his screen successes in the likes of Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Enemy at the Gate and The Merchant of Venice, Joseph Fiennes was last seen on the London stage two years ago in Trevor Nunn’s farewell National Theatre production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. His other theatre credits have included Real Classy Affair, Edward II, The Woman in Black, A View from the Bridge, As You Like It, The Herbal Bed and A Month in the Country.
Last year’s Evening Standard Best Actress Pam Ferris (Notes Falling on Leaves), who had previously been tipped to appear with Fiennes, will not now be appearing due to a conflict with dates. No further casting has yet been announced.
Director Peter Gill – who, in the 1960s, was a leading force in the generation following Osborne’s at the Royal Court – is himself an accomplished dramatist whose plays include Friendly Fire, Mean Tears, Small Change, Kick for Touch, Original Sin and The York Realist. He has directed more than 80 productions including, in recent years, Days of Wine and Roses, Scenes from the Big Picture and Osborne’s Luther.
Epitaph for George Dillon is presented in the West End by Act Productions, Roger Chapman, Matthew Mitchell and Kim Poster. Currently at the Comedy, Brian Friel’s play The Home Place, starring Tom Courtenay, is booking until 25 August 2005.
- by Terri Paddock