Season 68

Ring Round The Moon

By Jean Anouilh adapted by Christopher Fry
7 - 12 December, 2015

Isobelle's Mother is convinced they will have a good time at the party

Madame Desmortes is not sure which brother invited Isabelle

Don't run away Patrice I need you

Isabelle and Diana come to blows

Set


Full gallery of photographs here

Synopsis

The setting is the winter garden of a French country house where a ball is to be staged; a female innocent is thrust into a society of wealthy worldlings. Isabelle, an impoverished dancer, arrives at the invitation of the cynical Hugo, to attract the attention of his twin brother, Frederic, and save him from a potentially disastrous marriage. Hired to play a role, Isabelle goes on to expose the falsity of the world around her she triumphs over her patron and succeeds in making her appearance a success and also having both men fall in love with her. This reaches a point of faint absurdity when she provokes a melancholy millionaire into seeking to shed his riches. A Restoration comedy and a quintessentially English piece set in the 20s with comic twists all round and a bevy of strong characters.


Cast

Joshua
DAVID TEMPLETON
Hugo & Fredrick
BRUCE STURROCK
Patrice Bombelles
PETER WHITLEY
Madame Desmortes
LORRAINE TAYLOR-PARKER
Capulet
SUSAN WOOD
Messerschmann
STUART HICKS
Diana Messerschmann
SARAH CARR
Lady India
CAROL SOUTHBY
Romainville
CHRIS LOW
Isabelle
CAROLINE AUTY
Isabelle's Mother
YVONNE TEMPLETON
A General
JEFF PEACOCK
Body double
SAM CHEWINS
Footman
FINDLAY McMEEKIN
Maid
JILL MARTIN
Maid
ANNE LAKIN
DIRECTOR
ROBIN MARTIN


Director's Notes

A Ring Round The Moon is, in folklore, a night of magic and frivolity, a change in the weather (we can only hope)! Jean Anouilh’s L’Invitation au Château premiered in Paris in 1947.

It was first performed in this translation by Christopher Fry in London in a “sumptuous” 1950 Peter Brook production, as Ring Round the Moon, starring Paul Scofield and Claire Bloom. The story is slight.

Hugo, arch-manipulator, sets a trap for his twin brother Frederick by hiring a young, poor and beautiful ballet-dancer, Isabelle, to make Frederick fall in love with her, instead of his unsuitable fiancée, Diana, with whom he thinks he should be in love. Isabelle, of course, falls for the heartless Hugo, and intrigue ensues.

There are various sub-plots, but all you, Dear Audience, need to do is to settle down and enjoy the lives which unveil themselves before your eyes in this “charade with music”.

The setting is a Winter Garden, next to a Ball, scene of escapism and escapades, populated by Bright Young Things, used to intrigue, many of them insensitive to anyone’s feelings but their own.

When I first read this play I found it a puzzle. What is the appeal, I wondered, in such empty people and such a shallow story? The answer, which we discovered more and more as our rehearsals progressed, is in the fascinating characters which Anouilh draws, and which my wonderful cast - the players dancing around the ferns and under the twinkling lights bring to life. They have been a joy to work with, each of them questioning in their own way the thinking and development of their character, each of them talented and committed to the production.

Under an enchanting moon, in a dazzling garden we can all escape for an evening into the magic world-almost fairytale- of the cast of fascinating characters you will see “dancing” out their stories before your very eyes.

Our set itself is almost a character in this “charade with music” and I wish particularly to credit our set-designer, our choreographer, the workshop, wardrobes, lights and props, and backstage teams who have brought to life a vision we have shared from the outset.

Oh, and look out for BLT’s latest bit of “kit” which I hope will surprise and delight you!

Winter is probably a good time to produce this play of Golden Summer. We want to bring light, dance, joy and music to Bingley’s stage, and we hope you enjoy watching as much as we have rehearsing.


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