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Finborough Theatre’s Variation on a Theme by Terence Rattigan

Variation on a ThemeHPZ Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre presents, the first production in more than 50 years anywhere of VARIATION ON A THEME, by Terence Rattigan.

Feelings can’t sometimes be helped, but the expression of them can.

The first ever production in more than fifty years of Terence Rattigan’s Variation on a Theme opens at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre in a four-week season from Tuesday, 25th February 2014, starring three-times Olivier Award nominated Rachael Stirling.

Inspired by La Dame aux Camelias, and set in the glamorous and exotic society of the 1950’s French Riviera, Variation on a Theme revolves around the tempestuous love affair between Rose, a beautiful and worldly socialite, and Ron, a young bisexual ballet dancer with a keen eye for social advancement.

In an emotionally charged story of desire and disillusionment, Rose is persuaded by Ron’s choreographer and mentor, Sam, to sacrifice her personal happiness for the sake of her young lover’s success and career.  But as Rose’s health deteriorates, and Ron is faced with the loveless reality of their separation, they finally face up to their need to be needed…

This will be the first production of the play anywhere in the world since its original 1958 premiere when it was directed by John Gielgud, and starred Margaret Leighton and Jeremy Brett.

Emma Amos | Mona
Theatre credits include 66 Books Writer Neil La Bute (Bush Theatre), Hay Fever (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Accidental Death of an Annarchist (Donmar Warehouse), The Servant (Lyric Hammersmith), Gracenote (The Old Vic), Sweet Bird of Youth and The Birthday Party (National Theatre). Television includes Silent Witness, Poirot, My Family, Heartbeat, The Last Detective, Midsomer Murders, Good Night Sweetheart and Moving Story.

Rebecca Birch | Fiona
Theatre includes Relative Values (Theatre Royal, Bath), Health Wealth (Old Vic New Voices), Pygmalion (Chichester Festival Theatre and Garrick Theatre) and The Master Builder (Chichester Festival Theatre). Films include Long Forgotten Fields, D-Effects, The Lost Boy and Welcome to Leathermill.

Phil Cheadle | Kurt
Theatre includes Blue Remembered Hills (Northern Stage), Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun (Finborough Theatre), Neighbourhood Watch, Dear Uncle (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Bedlam and Henry IV Parts I and II (Shakespeare’s Globe).

Rachel SterlingRachael Stirling | Rose
Rachael has been twice nominated for an Olivier Award. Theatre includes Medea (UK Tour), The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse), An Ideal Husband (Vaudeville Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Priory (Royal Court Theatre), Pygmalion (Theatre Royal Bath and Japan), Uncle Vanya (Wilton’s Music Hall), Look Back In Anger (Theatre Royal Bath), Tamburlaine (Bristol Old Vic). Television includes The Bletchley Circle, Doctor Who, Boy Meets Girl and Tipping the Velvet.

Martin McCreadie | Ron
Martin is the winner of Best Actor at 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival for his portrayal of Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange (Soho Theatre and Australia Tour). Theatre includes Romeo and Juliet (Camden People’s Theatre), Trainspotting, The Long and the Short and the Tall (Playhouse Theatre) and Frankenstein (Frantic Assembly).

David Shelley | Sam
Theatre includes Happiness (King’s Head Theatre), Betrayal (Gala Theatre, Durham), Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It (English Shakespeare Company), Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Susan Tracy | Hettie
Theatre credits include Rattigan’s Nijinsky, The Deep Blue Sea, Playhouse Creatures (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Relapse, Three Sisters, Anna Christie, Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello (Royal Shakespeare Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Long Day’s Journey into Night (Cambridge Theatre Company), Denial (Bristol Old Vic), Anything Goes (National Theatre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Richard II and Inherit the Wind (The Old Vic).

Playwright Terence Rattigan was born in South Kensington, close to the Finborough Theatre, in 1911. His many classic plays include French Without Tears, After The Dance, Flare Path, While The Sun Shines, The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, Harlequinade, The Deep Blue Sea, The Sleeping Prince, Separate Tables, Variation On A Theme, Ross, Man And Boy, A Bequest To The Nation, In Praise Of Love and Cause Célèbre. He also wrote screenplays for such classic films as The Way To The Stars, Journey Together, While the Sun Shines, The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, The Prince And The Showgirl, Separate Tables, The Sound Barrier, The Deep Blue Sea, The VIPs, The Yellow Rolls Royce – and collaborated on The Quiet Wedding, The Day Will Dawn and Brighton Rock, His television plays include Heart To Heart, Adventure Story and High Summer.  He was awarded a CBE in 1958, and knighted in 1971. Sir Terence Rattigan died in 1977.

Director Michael Oakley is a recipient of the JMK Award for Young Directors for which he directed Edward II at BAC. In 2012 he was Co-Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre’s pop-up space Theatre on the Fly. Direction includes Playhouse Creatures (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Changeling (Southwark Playhouse), Shooting Truth (NT Connections) and Graceland (The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices). Associate Direction includes Relative Values (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), Kiss Me Kate (The Old Vic), The King’s Speech (West End and UK tour), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Chichester Festival Theatre and West End). Assistant Direction includes Inherit The Wind (The Old Vic), A Month in the Country, The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, Oklahoma!, Cyrano de Bergerac (Chichester Festival Theatre), tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! (Bush Theatre) and Much Ado About Nothing (Globe Education). Michael was trainee director-in-residence at Chichester Festival Theatre and has also completed a training course with Cheek by Jowl.

Director Michael Oakley
Designer Fotini Dimou
Lighting Designer Matt Eagland
Sound Designer Max Pappenheim

With Emma Amos, Rebecca Birch, Phil Cheadle, Jamie Coleman, Martin McCreadie, Rachael Stirling, David Shelley and Susan Tracy

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London, SW10 9ED
Box Office 0844 847 1652 Book online at:

Tuesday, 25th February to Saturday, 22nd March 2014
Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm. Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm. Saturday Matinees at 3.00pm (from the second week of the run).

Thursday 30th January 2014


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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