This week, a play that's been hailed as one of the three “best theatre shows of the 21st century” will open at Salisbury Playhouse.
The Children by Lucy Kirkwood had its original run at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2016, this will be its English regional premiere.
As well as being named one of the three "best theatre shows of the 21st century" by the Guardian, The Children also gained great critical acclaim during its Broadway transfer: winning the Tony Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for 'Best Play'.
The play centres around two ageing scientists who live in an isolated cottage on the coast, as the world around them crumbles. Then an old friend arrives with a frightening request.
Salisbury’s very own Brian Protheroe (who's also the voice on First Dates!) appears as Robin, with Christine Kavanaugh taking on the role of Rose.
The pair have taken time out of rehearsals to talk to us:
Brian Protheroe Christine Kavanaugh
For those who don’t know could you tell us a bit about The Children and why should we come and see it?
Christine: “The Children does everything a great play should do. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think, and it also entertains you. It literally has everything. It is one of the best pieces of contemporary writing that I have read in a long time and it is not ‘worthy’, it is not ‘political’, it’s simply about the human condition. About how we grow up, about responsibility, about aging, about the planet, about the climate. But above all it is about people, how we cope in life and how we go forward, and it’s really, really, a great night out in the theatre.”
The Children won the 2018 Writers' Guild of Great Award for Best Play – what do you think makes it so good?
Brian: “It has the ability to hugely entertain and also to challenge. The relationships in the play are brilliantly investigated and acutely observed and it has the grip of a thriller!”
What’s been your favourite thing about working on this production?
Christine: “The reason I’m in Salisbury is the quality of the writing. It’s one of the best pieces of contemporary writing I’ve read in a long time, and it’s also a great part for women, and there are not many great parts for older actresses, so that would obviously lure you.
“The writing is great, but actually, I would also like to say that one of the best things about working on this production, apart from the quality of the writing, is the stage management and production team. Because the people of Salisbury and the town of Salisbury need to know how hard working they are and if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t have our theatres, they wouldn’t be kept alive on a shoestring having just survived two years of this covid pandemic. They are the backbone of the industry who keep it ticking over, keeping it alive, and are trying to keep the doors open. So, lose your theatre at your peril.
“If you can possibly support your theatre and see this production that would be great, but also I know from first-hand experience how great the in house team at Salisbury are, and the freelancers, that keep the building open and alive so that we can all enjoy great theatre.”
Brian, does this feel like a homecoming for you?
Brian: “Very much so. Was born here and my first professional part was Paris in Romeo and Juliet in the Summer of 1966 at the old theatre in Fisherton Street. Before that I had been a member of the original Stage 65 company and The Studio Theatre. I was also in a band called The Coasters who used to play regularly at the Palais - and a folk group called Folk Blues Incorporated (FBI).”
What was/is your favourite thing about Salisbury?
Brian: “I can honestly say just about everything! I’ve realised that I only have good memories of this lovely city. Obviously, the Cathedral and close. Also, the Queen Elizabeth gardens and the walk to The Old Mill.”
You can see Brian and Christine in The Children from 7th to 23rd April 2022. Click here for tickets.
Why not make a night of it by having dinner as well!
Head to the Experience Salisbury Taste pages for a range of delicious foodie options, from historic pubs to tasty Thai and fine-dining experiences.