Poet Christopher Reid wrote A Scattering after the death of his wife, actress Lucinda Gane, in 2005. Actor Robert Bathurst came across the book while he was grieving for a fatally ill friend. The aim to stage it, alongside Reid’s subsequent, comic poem The Song of Lunch, became a labour of love.
After various incarnations at Chichester Festival Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the resulting double bill – Love, Loss and Chianti – is now enjoying its London premiere at the newly re-opened Riverside Studios, with Bathurst starring.
“I’m the riddle to an answer: I’m an unmarried spouse, a flesh-and-blood revenant, my own ghost, inhabitant of an empty house.”
For this post-show Q&A, I spoke to Christopher Reid and Robert Bathurst, along with co-star Rebecca Johnson and cartoonist Charles Peattie (best known for his work on the Telegraph’s long-running Alex comic strip), who has designed the production’s animated projections.
After the deeply moving performance of A Scattering and the laugh-out-loud, chianti-infused The Song of Lunch (which Reid began writing as a comic antidote the day after he finished A Scattering), the post-show discussion also became a poignant affair with the contributions of a theatregoer whose husband recently passed.
An incredible discussion about grief, poetry and hope – with an unexpected and amusing intervention from raconteur and poetry fan Gyles Brandreth, who was sat in the front row.
Love, Loss and Chianti is currently booking at London’s Riverside Studios until 17 May 2020.
Event photography by Peter Jones.
Production photography by Alex Harvey-Brown.