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Steven Berkoff: Religion and Anarchy - Gillian Wright, EastEnders' Jean Slater, stars

Gillian Wright

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FRESH from her departure from EastEnders as Jean Slater, Gillian Wright will star in Steven Berkoff: Religion and Anarchy, which runs at Jermyn Street Theatre from September 24 to October 26, 2013.

Joining her will be Anthony Barclay, Lucy Hollis, Tom Lincoln and Clive Mendus.

Previously Posted: Sarah Brocklehurst Productions in association with Jermyn Street Theatre is presenting Steven Berkoff: Religion and Anarchy, an evening of Steven Berkoff shorts, from September 24 to October 26, 2013.

A celebration of one of the most consistently surprising and challenging theatrical figures of the past forty years, this season of short plays, performed by five actors over a period of five weeks, includes five world premieres and will be co-directed by Berkoff himself and Jermyn Street Theatre Associate Director Max Barton.

The collection of plays presented under the name Religion and Anarchy centres around the theme of the latent anti-Semitism that the dramatist believes still prevails within Britain. A prejudice that, despite the cataclysmic events of the twentieth century, refuses to go away and continues to infuse the very heart of the society in which we live.

The plays:

Guilt finds two middle-aged East-End Jews eulogising about good nosh and the old days as they prepare for the Sabbath and anticipate the arrival of a prodigal son.

In Roast, a mother tells a saccharine bedtime story dripping with anti-Semitic sentiment to her little boy, who laps it up readily.

Line-Up sees two men in the arrivals queue at a concentration camp. Will they be saved for the work camps or be sent straight to the chamber?

In How To Train an Anti-Semite, Dot is a dyed-in-the-wool bigot. Sid is well on his way. In this feast of filth the two wax lyrical and espouse a monstrous belief system. A pantomime of prejudice.

Gas finds three men forced to face the worst as the fatal gas flows in.

In addition to the main production of premieres, there will be a festival of readings and platform events, as well as performances from Steven Berkoff himself on select evenings.

Max Barton is the Associate Director at Jermyn Street Theatre where he recently directed a critically acclaimed production of Lee Hall’s Spoonface Steinberg in association with Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. He also directed the first ever promenade production of Hamlet at Kronborg, Elsinore and was assistant director to Trevor Nunn on A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Steven Berkoff: Religion and Anarchy is the first production in Artistic Director Anthony Biggs’ first full season at Jermyn Street Theatre.

Tickets: £35/£25/£15 – available from the box office on 0207 287 2875 or online at www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.30pm (except September 26).

Steven Berkoff: Religion And Anarchy is part of the Jermyn Street Theatre autumn season. Other works in the season include a rare revival of the 1974 David Pinner comedy The Potsdam Quartet, which Biggs will direct (October 29 to November 23) and The Little Beasts (What Happens To Naughty Children), a world premiere Christmas musical for all the family (November – 26 to December 19).

Biggs’ previous productions at the theatre include the UK premiere of Ibsen’s St John’s Night, Charles Morgan’s The River Line, Ibsen’s Little Eyolf and a revival of Frederick Lonsdale’s On Approval.

The autumn season builds on these and Jermyn Street Theatre’s other recent successes, including Trevor Nunn’s acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon, the musical Boy Meets Boy and a revival of Charles Dyer’s Mother Adam.

The world premiere of Rory Fellowes’ A Victorian Eye runs at Jermyn Street Theatre from July 30 to August 17, 2013.