Theatre / Bristol old vic

Bristol Old Vic’s ‘Long Day’s Journey’ heads to West End

By steve wright, Wednesday Jul 26, 2017

Following its sold-out run as part of Bristol Old Vic’s 250th Anniversary season, Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville will reprise their roles in Richard Eyre’s acclaimed production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night for a ten-week West End run early next year.

Considered one of the most powerful American plays of the 20th century, the production will play a strictly limited season at Wyndham’s Theatre from January 27 to April 8, 2018.

The Tyrones’ summer home, August 1912. Haunted by the past but unable to face the truth of the present, the Tyrones and their two sons test the bonds of a family caught in the cycle of love and resentment. As day turns to night and the family indulge in their vices, the truth unravels leaving behind a quartet of ruined lives.

Jeremy Irons said, “Over 40 years ago I saw Laurence Olivier play James Tyrone. I never dreamed I would one day be given the opportunity to play him myself. I am so glad I have the chance to work again with Richard Eyre and Lesley Manville on this, one of America’s greatest plays.”

Lesley Manville and Jeremy Irons in ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ at Bristol Old Vic. Pics: Hugo Glendinning

Lesley Manville said, “Shortly after Richard Eyre and I worked together on Ghosts he asked me if I’d be interested in doing Long Day’s Journey Into Night with him at Bristol. Ghosts is a big, emotional and epic play but not even that prepared me for the challenge of O’Neill’s masterpiece which is, by far, the hardest play I have ever done. But at the same time thrilling. I cannot wait to play those scenes again to a wider audience. O’Neill is a genius and Richard Eyre’s production gives nothing but credit to this classic American family saga.”

Director Richard Eyre added, “I’m excited that I’m having the opportunity to revive a production that I loved. We had a wonderful time doing this play in Bristol and it’s marvellous to be able to share the production with audiences in the West End.”

Long Day’s Journey Into Night follows previous London transfers of Bristol Old Vic productions Swallows & Amazons, Jane Eyre, Pink Mist and Peter Pan. The production’s creative team includes sound designer John Leonard, who ran the sound department at BOV from 1970 to 1976. He went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company and, in 1984, was made the company’s first head of sound.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night came from a uniquely Bristolian place – the 250th birthday of Bristol Old Vic – and was the cornerstone of an amazing year of work,” reflects Chloe Elwood, BOV’s executive producer. “Richard Eyre’s definitive production brought this great play to life through the performances of two of the greatest actors of our time, Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville, and its transfer to the Wyndham’s Theatre is richly deserved by them all.

“We are so proud that this Bristol Old Vic production will now be seen by so many more people and that we can share a little bit of Bristol’s creative spirit with new audiences beyond the region.”

Read more: Review: Long Day’s Journey Into Night

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