De Jongh to Pen Screen Adaptation of Plague Over England

News   De Jongh to Pen Screen Adaptation of Plague Over England
 
Plague Over England — the first full-length play by theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh, which is currently running at the West End's Duchess Theatre through May 2 — will be adapted for the big screen by BK Films, the film divison of theatre producer Bill Kenwright, who also brought it to the West End, after a prior run at the fringe Finborough Theatre in 2008.

De Jongh, who recently announced that he is leaving his post as chief theatre critic of the Evening Standard newspaper after 18 years, will work on both the screenplay and other creative projects, including a novel. In a press statement, he said, "Plague Over England has been the most transformative experience of my life and I hope the film version will be a huge success. I am incredibly grateful to Bill Kenwright for making it happen."

BK Films is an independent film company who have previously produced "The Day After The Fair," "Stepping Out" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Their latest feature, "Cheri," starring Michelle Pfeiffer and directed by Stephen Frears, will premiere in the UK in May 2009.

The current stage version of Plague Over England stars Micheal Feast as John Gielgud and Celia Imrie as Dame Sybil Thorndike. The play received its world premiere at the fringe Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court, where it opened officially Feb. 29, 2008 (following previews from Feb. 27), and ran to March 22, 2008. It subsequently transferred to the West End's Duchess Theatre, opening officially Feb. 23 (after beginning performances Feb. 11).

The play is based on the real-life incident in 1953 when the late John Gielgud, then at the height of his fame as an actor, was arrested in a public lavatory in Chelsea, and pleaded guilty in court for the charge of persistently importuning men for immoral purposes. His conviction caused a sensation and threatened the continuation of his career – but it also helped break the great taboo upon the general discussion in the national press of homosexuality, which was then an illegal practice in Britain.

Also in the current cast are David Burt, Simon Dutton (as producer Binkie Beaumont), Celia Imrie, Hugh Ross, John Warnaby, Michael Brown, Steven Hansell, Sam Heughan and Leon Ockenden. The play is directed by Tamara Harvey, who directed the acclaimed tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! at the Bush Theatre. The production is designed by Alex Marker with lighting by James Farncombe, sound design by Theo Holloway and original music by Alexander S. Bermange. The West End run is produced by Bill Kenwright and Ambassador Theatre Group.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4659 or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com.

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