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London premiere for Postcards from Maupassant


Preview by Paul Nelson

FOLLOWING rave reviews at Edinburgh last year and a sell out UK tour, Two Friends Productions present the London premiere of Postcards From Maupassant, adapted by Caroline Harding, from the short stories of French writer, Guy de Maupassant, directed by Dan Milne.

Maupassant's skill at writing short stories is unsurpassed, full of wit yet at times shocking and often poignant. These seven vignettes, portraying the heady world of the beau monde, are brought to the stage by RSC actresses Caroline Harding and Candida Gubbins with Richard Attlee, capturing Maupassant¹s gentle yet satirical humour.

Although separate stories, they are all about the fragile relations between men and women and the continuing power struggle all to familiar even today. The play focuses with light-hearted wit, dark humour and pathos on the ways in which women ensured their survival in an era full of constraints.

A Countess gets revenge on her philandering husband; three old people reminisce on the disturbing influences of Spring; a wet nurse overburdened with milk meets a tall dark stranger on a train; an eccentric couple in a spa scare off a Moulin Rouge dancer; a naïve wife suddenly discovers the power of her sexuality; two sisters paid to watch over a dying man decide to hurry things along a bit; and tentative love blossoms between a prostitute and a grieving man in a graveyard.

Caroline Harding's extensive theatre credits include Ann Deever in All My Sons (Oxford Stage Co) and Miss Sterling in The Clandestine Marriage (Bristol Old Vic), many TV credits include Juliet in Fish, playing opposite Paul McGann (BBC).

Candida Gubbins was most recently seen as Anita in the WYP production of A Small Family Business. Other credits include Linda in Misconceptions (Derby/Salisbury), Babs in Spike (Nuffield Southampton) and Gwendolen in Terry Hands' production of The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatr Clwyd/Birmingham Rep/Toronto). Her TV credits include Innocents (C4), Embassy and Sleepers (BBC).

Both Caroline and Candida have played extensive seasons at the RSC, which is where they first met and forged the friendship that has led to them forming their own production company.

Richard Attlee was nominated best supporting actor in the Barclays/TMA awards for his role as Charles Turman in Shared Experience's The Clearing, other credits include Tim Carroll's all male Twelfth Night (Globe) and The Winter's Tale (Method & Madness). His many film roles include Benjamin in Mike Leigh's Topsy Turvy.

Richard plays Kenton Archer in The Archers for BBC Radio 4. Later in the year, Richard will be seen in the BBC2 docu/drama, Dunkirk, playing his real grandfather - Clement Attlee, opposite Simon Russell Beale's Churchill.

Director, Dan Milne, has worked extensively as an actor and associate director with Tim Supple, including A Servant and Two Masters and More Grimm Tales.

Guy de Maupassant was a 19th Century French writer who wrote prolifically and was soon France¹s best selling author, after Zola. He wrote nearly 300 stories and six novels.

In 1892, he attempted suicide and was sent to a clinic suffering from syphilitic paresis, which had driven him mad; he died at the age of 42. Maupassant's short stories raised the art of story telling to a pitch rarely equalled.

Two Friends Productions was co-founded by Caroline Harding and Candida Gubbins in 2001, when they raised £10,000 to take the original version of this show to the Edinburgh Festival, to great critical acclaim. In 2002 they undertook a successful inaugural UK tour selling out at Guildford, Bath and Wimbledon.

Postcards from Maupassant adapted by Caroline Harding and Candida Gubbins, Directed by Dan Milne, WITH: Candida Gubbins, Caroline Harding and Richard Attlee, Presented by Two Friends Productions at 8pm September 2 to September 27at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington EC1. Tickets 020 7837 7816.

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