Wilhelm Furtwangler (Glover) was one of the greatest orchestral conductors of the century. When the Nazis came to power in the 1930s, he elected to stay in Germany when many of his fellow artists left in protest. Furtwangler believed that art and politics had nothing to do with each other and that he could pursue his career in peace. After the war, in 1946's occupied Berlin, American investigator Major Arnold (Pearson) confronts the great conductor about his conduct. Can any artist ever claim to be above politics?
The ever-politicised playwright and director Harold Pinter originally directed Taking Sides in a Chichester production that transferred to the West End and Broadway, where Ed Harris replaced Michael Pennington as Arnold to Daniel Massey's Furtwangler. In 2001, the play was made into a film starring Harvey Keitel as the major.
The new production is directed by Deborah Bruce and produced by Jenny King and Matthew Gale for The Touring Consortium. Following Bath, it continues to Nottingham, Guildford, Richmond, Darlington, Brighton and Cardiff.
Harwood remains best known for The Dresser, the play, later made into a film, which was inspired by his own early experiences as Donald Wolfit's dresser. His other credits include, on screen, Oscar winner The Pianist, and on stage, Quartet, Mahler's Conversion and, opening next month in the West End, his adaptation of Francis Veber's See You Next Tuesday.
Pearson is best known for his screen roles in Drop the Dead Donkey, Between the Lines, Bridget Jones' Diary and Trevor's World of Sport. His recent theatre credits include Benefactors, Closer and The Real Thing.
Amongst Glover's many stage credits are, in the West End, King Lear, Phedre, Britannicus, Waiting for Godot, An Inspector Calls, Macbeth (with Sean Bean) and, for the RSC, Coriolanus and Henry VI Parts I, II and III.
- by Terri Paddock