Julie Atherton stars as Thérèse Raquin at the Finborough
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
THE WORLD premiere of a new musical adaptation of Émile Zola’s classic French novel Thérèse Raquin, starring Julie Atherton (title role) and Olivier Award nominee Tara Hugo (Madame), runs at Finborough Theatre from March 27 (previews from March 25) to April 19, 2014.
Thérèse Raquin is set in 19th Century Paris. Behind the counter of a small dusty haberdasher’s shop near the Seine in the dank, narrow Passage du Pont Neuf, sit Madame Raquin and her beautiful niece Thérèse, whom she has married off to her sickly son Camille in a loveless match.
While he is out working, Thérèse serves in the shop and the monotony is only broken on Thursday nights, when Madame plays dominoes with a strange assortment of old friends.
On one such Thursday, Camille brings a childhood friend to the party – the bluff and attractive Laurent. He inspires such an incredibly powerful passion in Thérèse that she abandons all her inhibitions and her loyalties. This brutal and overwhelming passion overturns all their lives and has results nobody could have foreseen.
In keeping with the innovative and challenging nature of the original work, this radical new musical adaptation uses music and lyrics to heighten and distil the underlying themes. It features a company of twelve who play the main roles of Thérèse, Laurent, Camille and Madame Raquin, as well as their Thursday night domino playing companions and a watchful and distrustful chorus.
As well as Atherton and Hugo, the cast includes Lila Clements, Claire Greenway, Ellie Kirk, Jeremy Legat, Ben Lewis, Gary Tushaw, Verity Quade and Matt Wilman.
With music by Craig Adams and book and lyrics by Nona Shepphard, Thérèse Raquin is directed by Nona Shepphard, designed by Laura Cordery and has lighting by Neil Fraser.
Julie Atherton’s theatre credits include Lift (Soho Theatre), Sister Act (UK Tour), The Hired Man (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Ordinary Days (Finborough Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) and Fame (Aldwych Theatre). Her recordings include A Girl of Few Words and No Space For Air.
Tara Hugo’s theatre work includes Legacy Falls (New Players Theatre and New Your Musical Festival), La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory), Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse) for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, and The Bacchae (New York Shakespeare Festival). Her recordings include Tara Hugo Sings Philip Glass.
Émile Zola (1840–1902) was a novelist, playwright and journalist, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in his renowned letter J’accuse. Zola was nominated for both the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.
Presented by Theatre Bench in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Thérèse Raquin is part of Finborough Theatre’s acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series and follows the sell-out success of its workshop as part of Vibrant 2012 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.
For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.
Also at Finborough Theatre: the first production in more than fifty years of Terence Rattigan’s Variation on a Theme and the first London production since 1985 of Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle’s The Hard Man.