Palace plays host to premiere

PUBLISHED: 11:14 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

THE world premiere of a play by Oscar-winning writer Ronald Harwood opens at Watford Palace Theatre next Friday night, January 15. The play, An English Tragedy, launches the theatre s centenary season and is a powerful tale of conflicting loyalties and wa

THE world premiere of a play by Oscar-winning writer Ronald Harwood opens at Watford Palace Theatre next Friday night, January 15.

The play, An English Tragedy, launches the theatre's centenary season and is a powerful tale of conflicting loyalties and wartime treason.

It is based on the true story of the British fascist John Amery, a complex and fascinating man who was arrested and charged with high treason in 1945 after making propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany.

The trial was made more sensational by the fact he was the son of Leo Amery, who served in Winston Churchill's cabinet during the war.

Ronald Harwood, who won an Oscar for his screenplay The Pianist in 2002, is best known to theatre audiences for his international hit play The Dresser which played in the West End and around the world.

Other notable plays include Taking Sides and Quartet while his film adaptation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly recently opened to critical acclaim in the US and is due to open in the UK on Friday.

Other forthcoming screenplays include an adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's best-selling novel Love in the Time of Cholera.

An English Tragedy, which runs until Saturday, March 8, is directed by Di Trevis whose work at the National Theatre includes The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Pinter's Remembrance of Things Past.

The central role of John Amery is taken by Richard Goulding, Leo Amery is played by Jeremy Child and Diana Hardcastle plays John's mother Bryddie Amery. Other parts are taken by Nicholas Rowe, Michael Fenton-Stevens, Lucinda Millward and Bill Thomas.

Artistic director Brigid Larmour said: "I am delighted that we are premiering Ronald Harwood's riveting and important play at the Watford Palace Theatre. Through its historical story, it explores very present issues like the meaning of patriotism and the difficult question of when an unpalatable opinion becomes treason.

"At the heart of the play is a father-son conflict over the fundamental question of cultural and personal identity."

Tickets and further information are available from the box office on 01923 225671 or go to www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk

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