**The production contains strong language, nudity and scenes of a sexual nature and is not suitable for children**
Last night I attended the Sheffield Theatres & English Touring Theatres world premiere production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover at the Theatre Royal Brighton. I’m not really too familiar with the story, but I do know that when the book was first released in 1928 by author D.H. Lawrence it was banned until Penguin Books won the case to release it in the UK in 1960! So it must have been very saucy!
The Story –
Lady Constance Chatterley feeling emotionally and physically neglected by her paralysed husband who is unable to please her sexually is on the lookout for a man to feed her every desire. Her husband Mr Clifford Chatterley was injured in the Great War and has since depended on Constance to care for him, but she craves so much more. Her sexual frustration leads to an affair with gamekeeper Oliver Mellors who’s stature and sex drive lives up to Constance’s expectations. As time goes on and the affair escalates quickly Constance begins to realise that she cannot live with the mind alone.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this production and at times I must say I was a little weirded out, but once I got used to it I started to embrace the acting and storylines explored.
Heydydd Dylan who portrays Lady Constance Chatterley really threw herself into the role of the sex starved lady of the manor, and you could really see the upset and confusion in her character as she was trying to find what she’s always wanted, a man to love her in every way.
Gamekeeper Oliver Mellors portrayed by Jonah Russell is a working class isolated loner who keeps himself to himself. Having fallen out of love with his wife, Oliver is in the same situation as Constance and is looking for passion and love.
The chemistry and relationship between Dylan & Russell was extraordinary to watch, they looked so comfortable together, which is expected really as they spend a lot of the time naked and rubbing each other up and down!
Eugene O’Hare plays the role of paralysed ex solider Sir Clifford Chatterley very well, being confined to a wheelchair meant physical acting was minimal but his dialogue was exceptional. And the scenes between O’Hara & Dylan were very moving towards the end of the performance.
Not forgetting the ensemble cast who again as always in any theatre show, glue the whole performance together! Providing music, some comedy, wackiness and stage changes! Cast included Aretha Ayeh, Will Irvine, Ciaran McIntyre, David Osmond, Rachel Sanders & Alice Selwyn.
For such a basic stage setting, they really made it work with light trickery and music. The stage would go pitch black and either a typewriter “typing sound” or live piano would be played for a second before the lights were back up and the characters had moved (to show something had already happened) it worked really well! There was 1 particular scene which involved rain, and the theatre actually rained on stage which was fantastic! This was when Dylan & Russell got naked and ran around the stage . . . .
It’s definitely the most explicit theatre performance I have seen to date, swearing (F’s & C’s) and also full on nudity (a lot of the time lol) but once you look past that and focus on the acting and story at hand, it’s a great performance.
The show is based on the novel by author D.H. Lawrence, and adapted & directed by Phillip Breen. Lady Chatterley’s Lover has been adapted for film and television several times most notably the 1993 BBC Television TV movie directed by Ken Russell and starring Joely Richardson and Sean Bean. It was also been adapted for radio and several theatre productions including this by Sheffield Theatres & English Touring Theatres.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday 19th October (evening shows 7:45pm & Matinees, Thurs & Sat 2:30pm) before moving onto the Cambridge Arts Theatre 22 Nov – 26 Nov 2016.