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Preview: Brighton Rock at Newcastle Northern Stage

Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock comes to Newcastle as part of national tour

Brighton Rock
Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 1st – Saturday 5th May 2018

Following the critical success of their co-production of E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, Pilot Theatre once again join forces with York Theatre Royal to premiere Tony-Award Nominee Bryony Lavery’s (Frozen and Beautiful Burnout) new adaptation of Graham Greene’s iconic 1938 novel of sin and redemption Brighton Rock.

Directed by Pilot Theatre’s new Artistic Director, Esther Richardson and featuring a soundtrack composed by the acclaimed singer, musician and composer Hannah Peel, Brighton Rock will be at Northern Stage from 1 – 5 May 2018.

As two seventeen-year olds, Pinkie and Rose get embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton where one brutal murder leads to the next. The police are impassive - but the courageous and life embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she'll see justice is done.

Written in 1938, Graham Greene's classic novel of good and evil was first adapted for the stage at the Garrick Theatre with Richard Attenborough playing Pinkie, a role he resumed in the iconic 1947 film version. In 2010 Greene’s novel was remade, setting it in 1964, with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren. In 1993, Vicky Featherstone directed David Hurlock’s stage adaptation of the novel at West Yorkshire Playhouse and in 2004 John Barry and Don Black wrote a musical version which ran at the Almeida Theatre.

Bryony Lavery's play Frozen, commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, won the TMA Best Play Award and was then produced on Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony Awards. A revival will be staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Theatre in February. Stockholm, for Frantic Assembly, won the Wolff-Whiting award for Best play of 2008. Beautiful Burnout for The National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly received a Fringe First at Edinburgh, before performances in the UK, New York, Australia and New Zealand. Recent work includes The Believers for Frantic Assembly, Thursday for ETT/Brink, Australia, Brideshead Revisited for York Theatre Royal/ETT and Our Mutual Friend for Hull Truck Theatre.

Playwright Bryony Lavery said about her new adaptation, “Why adapt Brighton Rock for the stage? Because it is such a treasure chest of narrative delights. It has got everything...It's a love story, a revenge tragedy, a small-town murder mystery, an array of small-time gangsters and a middle-aged woman who knows no fear and who will stop at nothing to do right. In the poisoned relationship between Pinkie and Rose, there is one of the best accounts ever of what it is like to be 16 and 17 years’ old in a terrible, violent, adolescence.”

Composer Hannah Peel said, “The menacing aspects to the 1930s story are even more resonant today so I am really excited about working Pilot theatre for this incredible stage version of Brighton Rock. With an even greater sense darkness in the current world climate, my mind is already buzzing from the amount of music and sonic possibilities we will be bringing live to the stage.”

Brighton Rock’s cast are: Jacob James Beswick (People, Places and Things, Headlong and National Theatre; Peter Pan, Regents Park Open Air Theatre) as Pinkie; Gloria Onitiri (Caroline, or Change, Chichester Festival Theatre; The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; The Grinning Man, Bristol Vic, The Bodyguard and The Lion King, West End and most recently as Cruela De Vil in 101 Dalmations, Birmingham Rep) as Ida; Sarah Middleton (The Hypocrite, RSC/Hull Truck Theatre; National Treasure, Channel 4 and Love, Lies and Records, BBC One) as Rose; Angela Bain (Cyrano, Northern Broadsides and Made in Dagenham, (Queen Theatre, Hornchurch) as Spicer; Marc Graham (Flood Part Two: Anbudance and Flood Part Four: New World, Slung Low) and All We Ever Wanted was Everything (Middle Child/Paines Plough Roundabout) as Cubbitt; Jennifer Jackson (Neverland, Battersea Arts Centre and Tour) as Crab and Colleoni; Dorian Simpson (Persuasion, Royal Exchange Theatre) as Dallow; and Shamira Turner (Golem, 1927 and Doppelgänger, Battersea Arts Centre) as Sylvie/Prewitt.

Brighton Rock is co-commissioned by The Lowry for Week 53 and presented by special arrangement with STUDIOCANAL.

Tickets for Brighton Rock are available from £10 and can be purchased at the Box Office on 0191 230 5151 or online at
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