Sebastian FaulksRachel WagstaffTrevor Nunn
Comedy Theatre
Panton Street SW1Y 4DN
Comedy Theatre location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Comedy Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008
Show Details
Preview 18th Sep 10
Opens 28th Sep 10
Booking to 15th Jan 11
Show Times
Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Thurs & Sat 2.30 pm

Local Info
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64 Shaftesbury Avenue
020 7437 5088

Mint Leaf (Indian)
Suffolk Place
020 7930 9020

Tiger Tiger (European)
29 Haymarket
020 7930 1885
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A note from the author

We put this AVMovie together (a compilation of still photos and video clips) to show off London theatres as they are seen most often by theatre goers – by night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and  informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.


Trevor Nunn, is an impressive director who has been getting awards and accolades since the sixties. People in the know go to his plays because he directed them. He took on this story that even the author doubted could make a play,  because it was heartfelt and brilliantly written about the first world War (the "great War" so called) from a human perspective. The play has a message inherent in the book and the stage adaptation. It is a message about the love that makes a real human alive.

Many attempts have been made in the film world to portray Sebastian Faulks's best-selling novel - that have never got off the ground - probably because the public expect a macho approach to war full of images of blood and guts and smoke and rage and righteous military exploits. The Battle of the Somme was, after all, a horrific slaughter of a reported 60,000 dead in a single day. This staging was written by a woman,  Rachel Wagstaff, who persuaded Sebastian to back her play by taking him to see another Trevor Nunn play 'A Little Night Music'.  His initial response had been, as he described it, 'grumpy'. However he soon saw past that and finds the play faithful to his characters.

This staging, the cast and direction has had resounding reviews.  The critics who picked on detail or, in the case of the Times 'failed to engage' can be forgiven for having their thoughts protect them from the experience.  However this play is a fitting testament to the ever present question 'Why War?' and can only reiterate the tragedy and futility that the film makers will have a hard time following.  The book has already made a difference I believe as many millions have read it. This play is a must for those in uniform or thinking of joining the military. It is a must for families also because it may make you weep as the book has done to countless people.  See it.

The Story

Stephen Wraysford, a young man seeking knowledge of the textile trade visited France and stayed with a French family. He fell passionately in love with Isabelle, the wife of his host. She fell in love in the same manner with him.  After the deeply felt encounter she returned to her family but Stephen's love for her endures as does his human spirit.

During the war he found himself in the same place engaged in a horrific battle and sought solace in his memories of Isabelle and the desire to give something to future generations.

  • Author - Sebastian Faulks
  • Director - Trevor Nunn
  • Stage adaptation - Rachel Wagstaff


  • Genevieve O'Reilly - Isabelle Azaire
  • Ben Barnes - Stephen Wraysford
  • Nicholas Farrell - Réne Azaire / Captain Gray
  • Iain Mitchell - Bérard /Colonel Barclay
  • Lee Ross - Jack Firebrace
  • Zoe Waites - Jeanne Fourmentier
  • Owain Arthur - Private Evans
  • Billy Carter - Private Brenann / Lucien Lebrun
  • Florence Hall - Lisette / prostitute
  • Paul Hawkyard - Arthur Shaw
  • Gregg Lowe - Private Tipper
  • Joe Coen - Private Coker / German / worker / Johnson
  • Jack Hawkins - Private Adams /Private Levi /Military police
  • James Staddon - Private Douglas / Cartwright / orderly / Worker
  • Annabel Topham - Marguerite / nurse

  • Producer - Becky Barber
  • Music - Steven Edis
  • Design - John Napier
  • Wardrobe - Emma Williams
  • Sound - Fergus O'hare
  • Partner - The Royal British Legion
© 2011 Updated 4th Nov2010