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Lysette Anthony to star in NATURAL AFFECTION at Jermyn Street Theatre

Lysette Anthony in Natural AffectionAcclaimed star of the stage and screen, Lysette Anthony is to lead the cast of the UK premiere of William Inge’s Natural Affection, a blistering drama that shocked audiences when it opened on Broadway in the early 1960s. Anthony is joined by Timothy Knightly who she last appeared with in Lady Windermere’s Fan at The Manchester Royal Exchange two years ago.  Also in the cast are Jonathan Wadey, Jessica Preddy, Jeremy Smith, Louis Cardona and Adriana Maestranzi.

Christmas 1962, Chicago, a small apartment… Unconventional couple, Sue and Bernie, are awaiting the impending visit of Sue’s delinquent son Donnie with excitement and trepidation. When Donnie makes an unexpected announcement, tensions between the already strained family relationships grow and competition between the two men threatens to destroy the life that Sue has worked so hard to create. On Christmas Eve when the next-door neighbours join the party, tensions escalate resulting in an inescapable and horrific showdown.

Natural Affection flips the American Dream on its head. A complex, dark and anguished study of discordant family life, William Inge’s lost treasure explores the themes of sexual dissatisfaction, loneliness, frustrated small-town dreams, alcoholism and tortured identity. The work has never before seen in the United Kingdom. This lost treasure by an American icon has, in the playwright’s own words,  “been contested, praised, disputed, and criticized.” Inspired by the violence Inge was witnessing in the media at the time, Natural Affection retains the power to shock and is as resonant today as it was when it was first produced over fifty year’s ago.

Heralded as the ‘Face of the Eighties’ by David Bailey at the age of 16, Lysette Anthony was a highly successful model before she became a household name as an actress at the age of 20. Her recent theatre credits have included Oscar Wilde’s Lady Winderemere’s Fan at the Royal Exchange Theatre (for which she was nominated for a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award), the UK tour of Tons of Money,  Manchester Royal Exchange’s production of Noel Coward’s Hayfever, (also nominated for a Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actress); Arabella Lucretia in the hit comedy The New Statesman, with Rik Mayall and  Bath Theatre Royal’s tour of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter (with Simon Callow).  Well-known to television audiences, Lysette had lead roles in a multitude of dramas including Night & Day. Jonathan Creek, Murder In Suburbia, Dombey & Son and Three Up, Two Down.  She has appeared in over thirty feature films including Without a Clue with Michael Caine & Ben Kingsley, Woody Allen’s award winning Husbands & Wives and Look Who’s Talking Now with John Travolta,

William Inge (1913-1973) is known as “playwright of the American Midwest”.  He earned the title of most promising playwright of the 1950 Broadway Season for his play, Come Back, Little Sheba which was later to be made into a film by Paramount Pictures starring Shirley Booth and Don Lancaster. In 1953, he won a Pulitzer Prize, The Drama Critic Circle Award, The Outer Circle Award and The Theatre Club Award for his play, Picnic, which also later became a film by Columbia Pictures starring William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell. His other plays include, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and Bus Stop which achieved international recognition when Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray and Eileen Heckart starred in the Academy Award winning 1957 movie.

Natural Affection will be director Grace Wessels’ first production at Jermyn Street Theatre. She has a BA in Drama from Bristol University, and is Artistic Director of House on the Hill. Her recent work includes, King Lear (The Rose, Bankside), Taming (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (The Alma Tavern) and as producer for House on the Hill: The Alchemist (The Rose, Bankside), Dido, Queen of Carthage (The Rose, Bankside). She is currently the Company Manager of Primavera Productions, and is the Literary Associate to the Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre, Anthony Biggs. She was the Artistic Director of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival for 3 years and also was a Guest Judge for the BBC Programme, Off By Heart Shakespeare.

UK Premiere of NATURAL AFFECTION by William Inge
Directed by Grace Wessels
Set Design by Victoria Johnstone
Costume Design by Emily Stuart
Lighting by Steve Lowe
Jermyn Street Theatre
16b Jermyn Street,
London SW1Y 6ST

Box office:
020 7287 2875
Book online at:

Monday-Saturday 7:30 pm.
Saturday 3:30 pm.
£20, £18 concessions
Earlybird Offer – all tickets £17 if booked before 27 June

Monday 16th June 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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