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Flowers of the Forest starring Sophie Ward at Jermyn Street Theatre

Flowers of the Forest1934 – A nation still suffering from the effects of the last war is looking for ways to avoid another. Bedford Square, London. In their beautiful and tasteful home, Naomi and Lewis Jacklin live a contented, if unromantic, life of luxury. But when her disapproving sister Mercia arrives unexpectedly one evening with some of Naomi’s old belongings, memories of the past, long since forgotten, flicker to life. Flashback to a vicarage in Sussex in October 1914, and a final dinner before the men leave for conflict…

This autumn, star of film, television and stage Sophie Ward leads the cast for the eightieth anniversary production of John van Druten’s Flowers of The Forest – a timely reminder of the vicious effects of war and the fragility peace. Directed by Anthony Biggs, the play is a time-shift work, alternating from the beginnings of the first major conflict of the Twentieth Century to the period after – a time of reflection, with wounds still raw and the commitment to “never again” still strong. Flowers of the Forest explores themes of memory, loss and enduring love within a context of a world learning from past mistakes and searching for peaceful solutions as storm clouds gather once again on the horizon.

John Van Drutten was one of the most popular playwrights of the inter-war and early post-war year periods and was most popular for his works Bell, Book and Candle, which was later made into a film starring James Stewart and Kim Novak and his adaptation of Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood – I am a Camera. His other work includes Young Woodley and London Wall as well as the screenplay for the film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton and Angela Lansbury.

Sophie Ward is probably most popular for the film Young Sherlock Holmes directed by Barry Levison. Her other film work includes Out of Bounds, Book of Blood, Return To Oz, Little Dorrit and The Haunting of Julia. Her stage work includes seasons at Glasgow Citizens Theatre in which she notably starred as Ophelia in Hamlet, Amanda in Private Lives and Queen Elizabeth in Don Carlos. Television includeds the role of Sophie Byrne in Holby City and the acclaimed mini-series A Dark Adapted Eye with Helena Bonham Carter. The rest of the cast for Flowers in the Forest are Patrick Drury, Victoria Rigby, Mark Straker, Gareth McLeod, Debra Penny, Max Wilson, Alwyne Taylor, Gabriel Vick and Daniel Fine.

Anthony Biggs became artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre in January 2013. His previous productions at the theatre include the recent South African Season, The Potsdam Quartet, the UK premiere of Ibsen’s St John’s Night, Charles Morgan’s The River Line, Ibsen’s Little Eyolf the recent revival of Frederick Lonsdale’s On Approval.

This year Jermyn Street Theatre celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The autumn season also includes the first ever revival of Terence Rattigan’s debut work – First Episode and the first production in sixty years of Mordaunt Shairp’s controversial 1930s allusion to homosexuality – The Green Bay Tree. The season builds on the theatre’s other recent successes which include Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever, Arthur Wing Pinero’s The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, Steven Berkoff’s Religion & Anarchy and the recent production of Wiliam Inge’s Natural Affection.

FLOWERS OF THE FOREST by John Van Druten
Director Anthony Biggs, Designed by Victoria Johnstone, Lighting Design by Charlie Lucas, Sound Design by Gareth, McLeod.

Jermyn Street Theatre
23rd September to 18th October 2014
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday/Sunday
Matinees 3.30pm
Tickets £22.00, £18.00 concessions.
Earlybird offer all tickets £17.00 if booked before 8th September.

Box office: 0207 287 2875
www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk

Monday 18th August 2014

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  • 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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