London: NT
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
By Caryl Churchill

Lyttelton Theatre,
National Theatre,
Upper Ground,
South Bank,
London SE1 9PX

7.30pm; mats 2.15pm, see website for mats, Wed, Sats, Tue,

Runs: 2hrs 15 mins incl 20 min interval. To 22 06 15

TICKETS 020 7452 3000
In person: Mon– Sat, 9.30am-8pm

Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Apr 29, 2015:

A welcome blast from the past.
In the week before the most unpredictable General Election in a generation, Caryl Churchill’s humane, enlightened Light Shining in Buckinghamshire comes like a welcome blast from the past. Featuring events, impacts and debates surrounding the English Civil War, it couldn’t be more apt even if, born as it was in the heady theatrical turbulence of the 1970s when like its political predecessor 300 years earlier, rebellion, the collective will and processes were all up for grabs, it’s dramatic design does seem now from another age.

Light Shining is nothing if not a discursive talking shop, sometimes to its dramatic cost. But how good to hear the principles of democratic government poured over and argued with such passion.

A new nation was indeed struggling to be created and Churchill’s incorporation verbatim of the speeches from the Putney Debates – the three days in 1647 when the officers and soldiers of Cromwell’s Model Army hammered out the meaning of democracy for every Englishman (women would have to wait a little longer) – shows us what A Bill of Rights might have looked like had they succeeded.

We owe much to the Ranters, Levellers, Diggers whose revolution failed but whose vision of the new Millenium, its promise of Christ’s return and with it a more equal, just society, has formed the bedrock of what we now take for granted but in serious danger of being eroded. Indeed there were times when parallels with today came as a shocking reminder of current complacencies.

Turner’s production with, true to the spirit of the piece, its large community cast, is a wonder, full of striking visual imagery, opening with a massive table groaning with food surrounded by cuffed and silked grandees on top of which Churchill’s cast of vagrants, butchers, preachers and common people dream and dispute.

The contrasts and division in the population couldn’t be more marked and heightened by Helen Chadwick’s plangent chorales of psalms and plainsong.

All in all, a powerful lesson from history, didactic to be sure but one that repays attention highlighting as it does those missing voices, as true today as ever, of the exploited, the underpaid, the poor.

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
By Caryl Churchill

Cobbe, a gentleman: Joshua James
Vicar: Daniel Flynn
First JP: Jonathan Dryden Taylor
Second JP: Simon Manyonda
Margaret Brotherton, a vagrant: Ashley McGuire
Star, a corn merchant: Nicholas Gleaves
Briggs, a working man: Trystan Gravelle
Friend, a working man: Leo Bill
Man, a vagrant: Alan Williams
Preacher: Sargon Yelda
Hoskins, a vagrant preacher: Adelle Leonce
Claxton, a working man: Joe Caffrey
Claxton’s wife: Amanda Lawrence
Woman with mirror: Elizabeth Chan
Her friend: Ann Ogbomo
Colonel Thomas Rainborough, a Leveller from Cromwell’s army: Sargon Yelda
Edward Sexby: an elected representative from Cromwell’s army: Steffan Rhodri
Colonel Nathaniel Rich: Ash Hunter
John Wildman, a gentleman: Simon Manyonda
Oliver Cromwell: Daniel Flynn
General Ireton: Leo Bill
Gerrard Winstanley: Alan Williams
Woman with baby: Ann Ogbomo
Her sister-in-law: Amanda Lawrence
Butcher: Steffan Rhodri
Drunk, a poor man: Alan Williams
Digger: Joseph Rowe

Musicians: Simon Grant, Scott Handy, Rebecca Thom, Jonathan Williams

All understudy roles played by members of the company

Community Company includes:
Philip Barrass, Tony Blain, Virginia Brito, Korein Brown, Lennox Brown, Richard Byrne, Leroy Chew, John Dear, Lawrence Gallio, Stephen Harrison, Tony Heavey, Crispin Holland, Jeremy Hopkin, Clair Jardella, Muhammed Khan, Rob Killalea, Ben Lewis, Rob Lloyd, Chris McGoldrick, Wendy Mcneilly, Gerry McRanor, Heather Mathew, Rahim Mir, Margaret Moore, Brian O’Connell, Fiona Olegasegarem, Ritchie Parrott, Drew Paterson, Jill Patterson, James Pegg, Zena Peter, Thom Petty, Karla Ptacek, Fahad Qayyum, Rhian Roberts, Cristina Salcedo-Góomez, Christopher Seaden, Andrew Smith, Christopher Stringfellow, Keith Tapp, Jan Teeuwisse, Luke Thomas, Robin Thompson, Pip Willett

Director: Lyndsey Turner
Set Designer: Es Devlin
Costume Designer: Soutra Gilmour
Lighting Designer: Bruno Poet
Music: Helen Chadwick
Movement Director: Joseph Alford
Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt
Music Director: Helen Porter
Dialect Coach: Majella Hurley
Company Voice work: Jeannette Nelson
Staff Director: Mel Hillyard

This production of Light Shining in Buckinghamshire opened in the Lyttelton Theatre, April 23, 2015

First produced in 1976 by Joint Stock Theatre Group, after a research workshop, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, performed by six actors.

2015-05-02 10:27:54

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