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Simon Russell Beale Plays Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman

Later this year, Lucinda Coxon’s version of John Gabriel Borkman will star Simon Russell Beale. Previews for John Gabriel Borkman began on September 24 at the Bridge Theatre, with an opening night on September 29 and performances through November 26.

The title character in Henrik Ibsen’s play is sentenced to prison for fraud. He plots a stunning comeback as he muses on his entrepreneurial days. Simultaneously, his wife strives to resurrect the ‘Borkman’ name.

In John Gabriel Borkman, Simon Russell Beale will play the titular character. He’s no stranger to the Bridge Theatre, having previously performed there in Bach & Sons and A Christmas Carol. He recently starred in The Lehman Trilogy’s West End and Broadway productions. The rest of the cast will be disclosed at a later time.

Lucinda Coxon adapts John Gabriel Borkman. She previously worked on the world premiere of Alys, Always with Bridge Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner. John Gabriel Borkman is directed by Hytner, with more creative team members to be disclosed.

Anna Fleischle designed the set, and Liam Bunster designed the costumes, with more members of the creative team and actors to be announced soon.

A prison sentence for fraud has driven John Gabriel Borkman, a once-prominent entrepreneur, to his knees. He is fascinated with dreams of his comeback as he paces alone in an upstairs room, impoverished and shamed. His estranged wife plots the re-establishment of the family name downstairs. When her sister unexpectedly shows up, she sets off a desperate confrontation with the past.

Simon Russell Beale is one of the most accomplished performers in the United Kingdom. He was last seen at the Bridge in Nicholas Hytner’s A Christmas Carol and Bach & Sons. The most prior theatre credits belong to him include the National Theatre, the West End, and Broadway’s The Lehman Trilogy. 

Nicholas Hytner collaborated on The Alchemist, Much Ado About Nothing, Major Barbara, Collaborators, London Assurance, and Timon of Athens at the National Theatre. Lucinda Coxon previously worked with Nicholas Hytner on the world premiere of Alys, Always at the Bridge. 

Herding Cats, Happy Now, The Eternal Not, Nostalgia, The Shoemaker’s Wife, Vesuvius, Wishbones, Three Graces, The Ice Palace, and Waiting at the Water’s Edge are among her other theatre writing credits. The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, The Little Stranger starring Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson, The Crimson Petal and The White is starring Romola Garai for the BBC, Wild Target starring Emily Blunt, and The Heart of Me starring Paul Bettany and Helena Bonham-Carter are among her screenwriting credits.

Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Ladies, Beat the Devil, The Shrine, Bed Among the Lentils, A Christmas Carol, Bach & Sons, and The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage have all been directed by Nicholas Hytner for the Bridge Theatre.

At The Bridge Theatre this month, Hytner will direct Ralph Fiennes in David Hare’s Straight Line Crazy, and in June, he will run Alex Jennings in Stephen Beresford’s The Southbury Child. From 2003 to 2015, he was the Director of the National Theatre.

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