London's Norman Conquests Seeks to Conquer Broadway, Starting April 7

By Kenneth Jones
02 Feb 2009

Stephen Mangan in The Old Vic Theatre Company production of The Norman Conquests.
Stephen Mangan in The Old Vic Theatre Company production of The Norman Conquests.
Photo by Manuel Harlan

The fall 2008 Old Vic production of Alan Ayckbourn's three related comedies, The Norman Conquests, will move to Broadway's Circle in the Square for 16 weeks, in a rotating rep schedule, starting April 7. Opening is April 23.

A librarian named Norman (played by Stephen Mangan) is in a seductive mood in an interconnecting triptych of plays, directed by Matthew Warchus: Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden.

The 1973 plays follow the same six characters Norman, his in-laws and the local vet over a summer weekend in an English Country house.

The in-the-round revival in London the first revival there in 34 years was acclaimed. Especially for this production The Old Vic auditorium was transformed to re-create the intimate "theatre-in-the-round" experience that the plays were originally written for. Broadway's Circle in the Square already has an arena configuration.

Warchus (Speed-the-Plow, God of Carnage, The Lord of the Rings, Boeing-Boeing) again directs his 2008 ensemble cast including Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter and Amanda Root.



On Broadway all three plays will be presented consecutively on Saturdays (as was the case in London) at 11 AM, 3 PM and 8 PM. The limited engagement plays to July 25.

According to the Broadway producers, "Set in the dining room (Table Manners), living room (Living Together) and garden (Round and Round the Garden) of an English country house, The Norman Conquests follows six characters assistant librarian Norman, his wife, in-laws and the local vet from Saturday night through Monday morning. We watch as desperate lothario Norman (Stephen Mangan) attempts to seduce his sister-in-law Annie (Jessica Hynes), charm his brother-in-law's wife Sarah (Amanda Root) and woo his estranged wife Ruth (Amelia Bullmore), during a disastrously hilarious weekend of eating, drinking and misunderstanding. With his characteristic compassionate humor, Ayckbourn explores the disappointments bubbling beneath the surface as his characters' dreams of love and fulfillment go amiss."

Ayckbourn is one of Britain's most popular and prolific playwrights. Among his 70 full-length plays are Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman in Mind and House & Garden.

The Norman Conquests is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by David Howe, music by Gary Yershon and sound by Simon Baker for Autograph.

The Broadway run's producers are Sonia Friedman Productions, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Steven Baruch, Tom Viertel, Dede Harris, Tulchin/Bartner/Lauren Doll, Harriet Newman Leve, Eric Falkenstein/Jamie deRoy, Michael Filerman/Jennifer Manocherian, in association with Pam Laudenslager/Remmel T. Dickinson, Jane Dubin/True Love Productions, Barbara Manocherian/Jennifer Isaacson.

Tickets will be available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 and www.telecharge.com.