“Funny, thought-provoking and plays as seamlessly as a dream” ★★★★★ – The Observer
Florian Zeller’s The Truth is touring to Bath exclusively, appearing at Theatre Royal from Monday 9th to Saturday 14th May, direct from its opening run at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. Directed by Lindsay Posner, the UK premiere production of Zeller’s comedy of infidelity stars Tanya Franks (Broadchurch, EastEnders, Family Affairs), Alexander Hanson (The Fugitives, Kidulthood, A Little Night Music), Frances O’Connor (Mr Selfridge, The Missing, Madame Bovary) and Robert Portal (The King’s Speech, My Week with Marilyn, Mr Turner).
Michel is having an affair with Alice, his best friend’s wife. For six months they have been meeting in hotel rooms for afternoon trysts. Alarmed by Michel’s seeming indifference, Alice is struggling with feelings of guilt. Is it time for them to tell their partners the truth?
A huge hit in Paris and all over Europe, Florian Zeller’s The Truth is a smart and original comedy about how complicated life can become if you’re not entirely honest, and about walking the narrow line between being the deceiver and the deceived.
Florian Zeller has been described as “the most exciting new theatre writer of our time” (The Guardian). A novelist and playwright, his award-winning work has been translated into several languages. Zeller wrote his first novel, Neiges artificielles (Artificial Snow), in 2002 when he was twenty-two years old, and is now a household name in his native France. His 2012 play, The Father, is one of the outstanding hits of recent years. It received its UK Premiere in Bath in 2014, and returned in 2015, prior to its first West End transfer. The Father garnered ecstatic five star reviews and top listings in the UK Best Plays of the Year, with Kenneth Cranham, who originated the lead role, winning the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Actor. The Father returned to the West End this spring for the second time and has just opened on Broadway. Zeller’s 2010 play, The Mother, recently enjoyed a sold out run at London’s Tricycle Theatre, after opening in Bath’s Ustinov Studio last year with Gina McKee in the title role. Zeller’s comedy The Truth, written in 2011, received its UK premiere at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory this year, running from March to May 2016.
“Florian Zeller does it again with this pacy comedy” – Evening Standard
Tanya Franks plays the role of Laurence in The Truth. On television, she played Lucy Stevens in both series of Broadchurch and appeared as Rainie Cross in eighty-one episodes of EastEnders. On screen, she also starred as Karen Ellis in over 120 episodes of Family Affairs, D.I. Morell in The Bill, and played Karen in both series of Pulling. Her theatre work includes Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads at the National Theatre, and East in Edinburgh and the West End. She last played the Theatre Royal Bath in the National Theatre production of Hanif Kureshi’s The Black Album in 2009.
Alexander Hanson plays the role of Michel. His numerous theatre credits in the West End include Stephen Ward, An Ideal Husband, Sunset Boulevard, Marguerite, The Sound of Music, and We Will Rock You; the UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar; Talking to Terrorists at London’s Royal Court; and Candide, Copenhagen and The Merchant of Venice for the National Theatre. He also starred in the London production of A Little Night Music which transferred to Broadway. His film and television work includes The Fugitives, Party Animals, Holby City, Inspector Lewis, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Midsomer Murders, The Last Detective and Kidulthood. His previous performances at the Theatre Royal Bath include Time of My Life in 1994, The London Cuckolds in 1998 and Copenhagen in 2001.
Frances O’Connor, who appears as Alice, has twice received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – in 2015, for her role as Alice in The Missing alongside James Nesbitt, and, in 2001, for her role as Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary. She played Rose Selfridge in the first two series of Mr Selfridge; and her film work includes A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Mansfield Park, Bedazzled, and Kiss or Kill, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the Australian Critics Circle Awards and Montreal World Film Festival. On stage, she was nominated for the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her role as Vivienne Haigh-Wood in Tom & Viv at the Almeida Theatre, and she starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Brendan Fraser in the West End.
Robert Portal plays the role of Paul. His film and television work includes The King’s Speech, My Week with Marilyn, Mr Turner, Psychoville, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Thick of It and Ashes to Ashes. His theatre work includes The Doctor’s Dilemma and The Invention of Love at the National Theatre; The Thirty Nine Steps in the West End; and Henry IV, The Rivals and Love’s Labour’s Lost for the RSC. His previous performances at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Deep Blue Sea in 2003 and A Little Hotel on the Side in 2013.
Christopher Hampton, who translated The Truth for this UK premiere stage production, returns to Florian Zeller’s work having previously translated the highly successful UK stage productions of The Father and The Mother. He has also translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, Chekhov and Yasmina Reza, including the West End hits Art and Life x 3. He won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the adaptation of his own play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (released as Dangerous Liaisons). He was Academy Award-nominated again in 2007 for adapting Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement. His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac.
One of the UK’s greatest directors of comedy, Lindsay Posner’s many acclaimed productions in London include Noises Off at The Old Vic, and Abigail’s Party, Relatively Speaking and Hay Fever in the West End, all of which also played the Theatre Royal Bath. Last summer, he directed She Stoops to Conquer starring Anita Dobson and Michael Pennington at the Theatre Royal Bath. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 to 1992, where his production of Death and the Maiden transferred to the West End and won two Olivier Awards. His numerous West End productions also include Butley starring Dominic West; An Ideal Husband starring Samantha Bond; A View from the Bridge starring Ken Stott – nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best Director; and Uncle Vanya starring Anna Friel, Ken Stott and Samuel West.
The Truth appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 9th to Saturday 14th May. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Photos by Marc Brenner