Preview by Jack Foley
SHARED Experience will bring a new stage adaptation of the literary
classic, Gone to Earth, by Helen Edmundson, and based on
Mary Webbs 1916 novel, to the Lyric Hammersmith for
four weeks in May.
The play is set against the backdrop of the First World War,
as Hazel Woodus lives happily in her forest cottage, in the English
countryside, at one with the wind and seasons.
Her beauty and innocence prove irresistible to the men around
her, but their obsessive passions subsequently threaten to tear
Webb wrote Gone to Earth at the height of the First World
War, when many young men had literally gone to earth,
and received widespread critical acclaim, even though it was largely
ignored by the public, in favour of heroic war stories.
It was only after her death, aged 46, that the novel captured
the popular imagination.
The story has been adapted for Shared Experience by Edmundson,
who has previously adapted Anna Karenina and Mill on
The cast features newcomer, Natalie Tena, as Hazel, along with
Amelda Brown, Michelle Butterley, Jay Villiers and Simon Wilson,
as well as original harp music, by Olly Fox and songs, by Helen
Shared Experience are well-known for their innovative theatre
work, especially their preference for embracing new writing and
new literary adaptations, then combining these with physical theatre.
Past hits have included Jane Eyre, A Passage to India, The
Magic Toyshop and Madame Bovary, and several have transferred
to the West End.
The companys recent original piece, the award-winning After
Mrs Rochester, which was written and directed by joint artistic
director, Polly Teale, and starred Diane Quick as novelist Jean
Rhys, enjoyed an extended West End season, last Summer, at the
Duke of Yorks Theatre.
Gone to Earth will be at Londons Lyric Hammersmith
from May 11 to June 5.