published: Wed, 14-Mar-2007 | updated: Wed, 4-Jan-2017
Tom Jones in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, adapted by Joan MacAlpine, for the Environment Players at the Civil Service Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London. Directed by Alan Brown. 12, 13, 14 April 1989.
A blast, and how could it have been otherwise? Just think of the film from 1963: fast-paced, one wench after another, sword fights, costumes from the National Theatre, fun stuff.
I remember a couple of things in particular. The Peter and Sue Element were expecting their first baby. Since she wouldn't have been able to act for a long while, she got cast as Molly Seagrim, Tom's eventual love. All was fine during the audition and casting process since it didn't show, but by the time we went up, it was a little obvious. Kind of made it funny in a way, Tom ending up with an obviously pregnant wench...
Another event, that I still can't believe happened. Silvana, a fairly eccentric Italian, invited me to dinner at her flat after one of the rehearsals, saying some other friends would be coming too. So I go round clutching my bottle of wine, and find out that the friends are none other than Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha and Joely Richardson. It turns out that Silvana was the Richardson's nanny for a while. I was completely struck dumb. Wouldn't you be? Playing Tom Jones, when their dad, Tony Richardson, had directed the Oscar-winning film? So I listened instead and heard about Timothy Dalton hating doing his second Bond film.
Later on, I went with Silvana to see Vanessa in a production of Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams at the Haymarket Theatre (I think). Afterwards she smuggled me backstage to Vanessa's dressing room, and on the way we walked on the stage, a raked stage, the first I'd been on.
|Tom Jones||Julian Bucknall|
|Squire Allworthy||Alan Jarvis|
|Bridget Allworthy||Silvana Samnassimo|
|Jenny Jones||Pam Jarvis|
|Squire Western||Graeme Wheatley|
|Molly Seagrim||Sue Element|
|Sophia Western||Judith Robertson|
|Mrs Waters||Pam Jarvis|
|Mrs Fitzpatrick||Judith Egar|
|Captain Fitzpatrick||Peter Element|
|Lord Fellamar||Nick Ratcliffe|
|First Bystander||Jim Mearns|
|Second Bystander||Alan Irving|
|Woman with Basket||Tricia Watson|