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Found 14th Sep 2011
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Stepping out Theatre in association with Chrysalis and Simon James Collier
present
The London Premiere
Lullabies of Broadmoor –
A Broadmoor Quartet
Venus at Broadmoor The Demon Box The Murder Club Wilderness
Eight years in the making – the four linked plays of Steve Hennessy’s
Lullabies of Broadmoor – A Broadmoor Quartet weave together the closely
linked stories of five of Broadmoor’s most notorious inmates of the late
nineteenth and early twentieth century with the stories of those they
murdered. The sequence of plays form a rich, dark, Gothic tragicomedy about
murder, love, madness, personal responsibility and redemption.
As part of preparations for this production, the creative team were
given special access to Broadmoor Hospital. The production arrives
at the Finborough after performances in Frome, Bristol, Brighton
and a full run at the Edinburgh Festival.
The quartet is bound together by John Coleman, Principal Attendant on the
Gentlemen’s Block at Broadmoor. The four plays use the same cast, and
some characters appear in more than one play. The plays are performed in a
repertoire of two doublebills. Each doublebill works on its own, but each will
gain from being seen in conjunction with the other. The doublebills can be
seen separately and in either order, but Venus at Broadmoor and The
Demon Box are better seen first. On seven days during the run, it will be
possible to see all four plays in a day.
Venus at Broadmoor
1870. The madness of love. A string of random poisonings around Brighton
result in the admission of Christiana Edmunds to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic
Asylum. The penny dreadfuls call her the Chocolate Cream Poisoner, but she
prefers to be called Venus. Dr. Orange is struggling to understand why.
Principal Attendant Coleman is struggling to stay off the drink. The
Broadmoor Annual Ball is approaching. Christiana just wants to dance. Based
on the true story of Broadmoor’s most notorious female patient.
The Demon Box
1872. Inside Broadmoor. Inside the black box of the theatre. Inside the head
of Richard Dadd. On a trip to Egypt, the great Victorian artist Richard Dadd
believed that he had been contacted by the god Osiris. Upon his return, at the
god’s bidding, he murdered his father. He spent the rest of his life in Bethlem
and Broadmoor. While there he spent nine years working on his eerie
masterpiece ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke’. In 1872 he was given the job
of renovating the theatre at Broadmoor ...
The Murder Club
1922. Murder is in the air. The British Government is engaged in a genocidal
war in Iraq using poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction and two
notorious murderers are meeting in Broadmoor for the first time. Small time
conman Ronald True murdered the prostitute Olive Young. Embittered out of
work actor Richard Prince murdered matinee idol William Terriss at the stage
door of the Adelphi Theatre. Now the two men have been put in charge of an
evening of entertainment at Broadmoor. The Murder Club was commissioned
by the Finborough Theatre to tell the infamous history of a murder committed
on the Finborough Road itself, just down the road from the theatre.
Wilderness
A journey from the battlefields of the American Civil War to the cells of nineteenth
century Broadmoor by way of one of the most famous murders in Victorian
Lambeth. This is the story of William Chester Minor, one time surgeon in the
American Union Army and a major contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Press on Lullabies of Broadmoor
“Powerfully performed…by the same set of actors, the dramas are like distorted images of
each other, as they juggle with issues such as responsibility and redemption and the
relationship between illegitimate individual acts of murder and publicly sanctioned mass
killing. The result is a piquant mix of witty Gothic ghoulishness and serious moral
questioning... absorbing and atmospheric” Paul Taylor, The Independent
“This macabre, grisly, but often funny double bill grabs the audience by the dramatic throat
and hardly lets go for more than two hours…the psychological carnage is left behind long
after the blood has been hosed away...every character is created with care and finely
executed...a consistently interesting, though harrowing evening.” Derek Smith, The Stage
"Tragi-comic, black humour leavens these sad stories ...Multi-layered, clever, compact, yet
ranging widely, Lullabies of Broadmoor demonstrates sensitive writing…Hennessy has written
and produced a gem as part of the Finborough’s writers–in–residence season." Vera Liber,
Plays International“A double bill of plays that remind you why intimate fringe venues can touch parts other
theatres can't. The Murder Club, is a rumination on the glamorisation of murder, the public’s
lust for gory details and the mass murders that go unpunished (and unreported) on the other
side of the world. Set in 1922, Hennessy has intelligently woven in, as backdrop, the British
Commission in Iraq...the play is a thought-provoking piece, directed with fluidity and poise in
a restricted space. In the final minute it swiftly shifts from its established delicacy of manner
to a visceral wrenching; bringing form and content into focus to make a very powerful end."
Adam Brace, The Irish Post
"Steve Hennessy’s entertaining script revels in macabre surrealism tempered by shrewd
psychology and historical research …Drawing on real cases, Hennessy weaves an ornate
tapestry of emotional manipulation…Such is the fertility of Hennessy’s mind that his shadowy
gothic world compels you to keep watching." Helen Chappell, What’s on in London
“This isn’t a musty period drama or a whodunnit, but a no-holds-barred assault on our moral
and sexual conventions, our assumptions about sanity and madness and on a society that
claims to be civilised, yet seems to thrive on war … Hennessy has done an outstanding job of
using this macabre true story of ‘moral insanity’, murder and sex to lay bare the hypocrisy of
our own tormented society." Tom Mellen, The Morning Star
“Darkly funny…frequently disturbing…a combination of acute psychological insight and
political and historical breadth …A rich mix of characters and themes” Tom Philips, Venue
Magazine
“No doubting the quality both of writing and construction in Steve Hennessy’s double-bill; his
characters resonate in the mind the morning after ....Hennessy has a flair for visual moments
that summarise character and writes satisfyingly gritty, fluent dialogue... The Finborough has
searched out yet another individual theatre voice from whom we ought to hear more.
Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Tuesday 30 August 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box Preview
Wednesday 31 Aug 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box Preview | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Wednesday 31 Aug 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness Preview | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Thursday 1 September 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness Preview
Friday 2 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box Press | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Friday 2 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness Press | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Saturday 3 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box
Sunday 4 3.00 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Monday 5 No Performance
Tuesday 6 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon Box
Wednesday 7 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box
Thursday 8 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness
Friday 9 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The
Demon Box
Saturday 10 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Saturday 10 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Sunday 11 3.00 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Monday 12 No Performance
Tuesday 13 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Wednesday 14 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness
Thursday 15 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box
Friday 16 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Saturday 17 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Saturday 17 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Sunday 18 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon Box
Monday 19 No Performance
Tuesday 20 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness
Wednesday 21 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Thursday 22 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box
Friday 23 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Saturday 24 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Saturday 24 7.30 The Murder Club and
Wilderness | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Sunday 25 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon Box
Monday 26 No Performance
Tuesday 27 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon Box
Wednesday 28 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon Box | 4
Plays in 1 Day
Wednesday 28 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness | 4
Plays in 1 Day
Thursday 29 7.30 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box
Friday 30 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness
Saturday 1 Oct 3.00 Venus at Broadmoor and The Demon
Box Last Performance | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Saturday 1 Oct 7.30 The Murder Club and Wilderness Last
Performance | 4 Plays in 1 Day
Venue; The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London
SW10 9ED. 10 minutes walk from Earls’ Court Tube Station.
A LIMITED NUMBER OF FREE TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR
ALL PERFORMANCES! TO BOOK TICKETS PHONE 07790 980688!
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6 Comments
You win the prize for the longest OP I've seen! lol
Most of them have already taken place. This would have been fab if it had been posted a month ago
Dammit, should've taken drugs when I had the chance. Heat added, appears viable.
Title should be changed. Not a free theatre at all. Only free plays at theatres. Very disappointed and can't be bothered now.
I am a drug dealer do you think I will qualfy?
thanks, cant go, but voted hot
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