The first major revival in eighty years of The Roundabout, a recently rediscovered comedy by one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights JB Priestley – beloved for such classics as An Inspector Calls and Time and the Conways. The Roundabout, directed by Hugh Ross, will play at Park Theatre from 24 August to 24 September, with a press night on 25 August.
The Kettlewells are a dysfunctional family. Richard is a charming old Etonian whose business ventures are failing. Over a crowded weekend, his daughter Pamela, whom he hardly knows, returns from Russia, a passionate communist; his ex-wife and mistress both unexpectedly arrive; and his butler has a big win at the races.
Steven Blakeley will star as ‘Comrade Staggles’, Lisa Bowerman as ‘Lady Kettlewell’, Bessie Carter as ‘Pamela Kettlewell’, Richenda Carey as ‘Lady Knightsbridge, Charlie Field as ‘Farrington Gurney’, Derek Hutchinson as ‘Parsons’, Annie Jackson as ‘Alice’, Ed Pinker as ‘Alec Grenside’, Brian Protheroe as ‘Lord Kettlewell’, Hugh Sachs as ‘Churton Saunders’ and Carol Starks as ‘Hilda Lancicourt’.
Hugh Ross said, “The Roundabout is a funny, touching, highly perceptive look at an England in the 1930s, when it seemed, just possibly, as if the social order might be changing.
My father, Gordon Ross, was a polymath: doctor, homeopath, painter, poet and playwright; he had a vast library of books. About 18 months ago, looking through some of them, I came upon a collection of essays, short stories and plays, which included The Roundabout, which I’d never heard of. I read it, enjoyed it hugely, and was bewildered as to its disappearance from the repertoire. It is a fine comedy, unlike most of Priestley’s other work, and also strangely topical. I also found out that the play was written for Peggy Ashcroft, who was Priestley’s mistress at the time. She played wonderful part of Pamela, and I’m delighted that Bessie Carter will be making her professional debut in the role on her graduation from Guildhall.”