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South Downs and The Browning Version hero image
South Downs and The Browning Version hero image
South Downs and The Browning Version hero image
    Extraordinary depth, compassion and psychological perception.
    The Daily Telegraph
    A memorable production.
    Daily Express

South Downs and The Browning Version Tickets

Anna Chancellor and Nicholas Farrell reprise their roles in Chichester Festival Theatre’s sell-out double bill of Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version and David Hare’s South Downs. Both a startling take on their own experiences at public school, one is told through the eyes of an isolated young boy and the other through an ageing professor. Following a sell-out run, the double bill transfers to London’s Harold Pinter Theatre for a limited season.

Following a critically acclaimed, sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, the popular double bill of Terence Rattigan’s one-act The Browning Version and David Hare’s commissioned companion piece South Downs transfer to London’s West End. Based upon the playwrights’ own experience at their childhood schools, the plays offer an unyielding take on systems within public schools. Playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre for a limited number of weeks, the double bill opens April 24th.

Based on Hare’s time at Lancing College, South Downs looks at the world of boarding schools through the eyes of a razor-sharp young boy, who becomes isolated from his classmates due to his intelligence and background. Whilst the school itself does nothing to help him, leaving him evermore alone, he finds unexpected solace through a chance meeting with another pupil’s mother. With generosity of spirit and some strict advice, the boy begins to find his way through his difficulties and into a world laced with kindness.

Similarly, Rattigan’s The Browning Version is based loosely upon his experience at Harrow School. Told through the eyes of a retiring Classics master, Mr Crocker-Harris is a tired, dried-up tyrant of a teacher. Trapped in a broken marriage with barely any money to his name, a simple act of kindness from one of his pupils pulls into question his morals and dignity. Revealing the heart-breaking sadness that Mr Crocker-Harris endures, The Browning Version is a moving take on power play.

Reprising their roles, Anna Chancellor, Nicholas Farrell and Alex Lawther lead the casts following critical praise at Chichester. Chancellor is well-known for her performances on stage and screen, playing Belinda Duffield in South Downs and Millie Crocker-Harris in The Browning Version. Nicholas Farrell, who most recently appeared in The Iron Lady, takes on Reverend Eric Dewley in South Downs and Andrew Crocker-Harris in The Browning Version. Further cast members include Jonathan Bailey, Bradley Hall, Rob Heaps, Liam Morton, Mark Umbers, Andrew Woodall and Amanda Fairbank-Hynes.

Commissioned to write a complementing piece for Rattigan’s rarely performed The Browning Version, Hare’s South Downs follows a string of successful plays such as Skylight, Stuff Happens and The Judas Kiss. Angus Jackson directs The Browning Version, whilst South Downs is directed by Jeremy Herrin. Both feature original music by Paul Englishby, lighting design by Bruno Poet and sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. A thought-provoking double bill, don’t miss these plays at the Harold Pinter Theatre until July 22nd 2012.

Sorry this show closed 21 July 2012, we recommend these similar productions.

Performance dates:
19 Apr 2012 - 21 Jul 2012
Running time:
TBC after opening
Harold Pinter Theatre (See map)
Age recommendation:
Audience Notes:
Those who enjoy thought-provoking productions, as well as David Hare plays, will find this double bill hugely entertaining. Suitable for all ages, those who missed it at Chichester finally have the chance to catch it in London!

Best Seats

SeatPlan Recommends: Seats are good throughout the Harold Pinter Theatre, including the Balcony, which offers clear, unobstructed views for those on a budget. Sitting in the Stalls gives a great view of the whole stage, but seats towards the rear are obstructed by the Circle overhang. Sit in the centre-fronts of each section for the best overall, as restrictions can occur from support pillars towards the ends of rows.

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