The revival of Mortimer’s autobiographical 1970 play, directed by Gate Theatre artistic director Thea Sharrock, opened to critical acclaim on 13 June 2006 (previews from 8 June) at the 250-seat subsidised Donmar, where it finishes on 5 August (See Review Round-up, 14 Jun 2006). It reopens on 21 September 2006 (previews from 14 September) at the 750-seat Wyndham’s, where it’s booking until 16 December.
A Voyage Round My Father charts the relationship between a man and his blind barrister father who refuses to acknowledge his disability. John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist and QC who himself spent many years as a practising barrister. He’s best known for his Rumpole of the Bailey short story collections, which became a long-running TV series. His other stage plays include The Dock Brief, The Wrong Side of the Park and Hock and Soda Water.
Derek Jacobi’s last two West End outings were in Don Carlos (2005) and The Tempest (2003), both directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage and transferred from Sheffield Crucible, which Grandage also previously helmed.
The rest of the Donmar company – including Dominic Rowan, Natasha Little, Christopher Benjamin and Joanna David – will accompany Jacobi and the production to its new home. The cast also includes Lily Bevan, Neil Boorman, Osmund Bullock, Jamie De Courcey, Sadie Shimmin and Katie Warren. The production is designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Gregory Clarke.
A Voyage Round My Father follows Mary Stuart as the second production to transfer from the Donmar to the West End under the artistic directorship Michael Grandage. Grandage is himself represented in the West End with his musical revivals of Guys and Dolls and, just opened last month, Evita. He said today he was thrilled by A Voyage Round My Father’s transfer, as the play has “delighted audiences at the Donmar, and we’re grateful to have to opportunity to take it to a wider audience”.
The Donmar production is presented in the West End by Arielle Tepper Madover, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions with the Shubert Organization and David Binder. Currently at Wyndham’s, the Menier Chocolate Factory’s multi award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George finishes its extended West End run on 2 September (See News, 27 Jul 2006).
- by Terri Paddock