I caught a packed-out matinee performance of Tony Cox’s new play MRS ORWELL during its run this summer at the Old Red Lion Theatre – and found the what-might-have-been ideas swirling around the story of George Orwell’s final days fascinating.
I’m delighted that it’s now transferring for additional dates at Southwark Playhouse and even more delighted to have the opportunity to quiz author Tony Cox and director Jimmy Walters about this world premiere play…
Set at University College Hospital, London, in 1949, Tony Cox’s new play is based on actual events.
George Orwell (Peter Hamilton Dyer) is in the last chapter of his life with a severe case of Tuberculosis. He still believes he has at least three novels in him so to keep his morale up he promptly proposes to friend Sonia Brownell (Cressida Bonas), a 30-year-old assistant magazine editor. When Sonia learns that she is his only hope, she must decide whether to succumb to the advances of Lucien Freud or enter a platonic marriage with one of the country’s most renowned writers.
MRS ORWELL, commissioned and presented by Proud Haddock, explores the private side of one of the most public icons of the 20th century. This theme of public and private contrasts is reflected in the staging (designed by Rebecca Brower), which reveals a hospital corridor behind Room 65, the hospital room where the action takes place.
Peter Hamilton Dyer and Cressida Bonas are joined in the cast by Edmund Digby Jones (as Lucian Freud), Robert Stocks (Fred Warburg) and Rosie Ede (Nurse).
For the MRS ORWELL post-show Q&A on Wednesday 13 September 2017, I’ll be joined by author Tony Cox and Proud Haddock artistic director Jimmy Walters to discuss George Orwell’s life and legacy and how it inspired this acclaimed piece of new writing for the stage.