Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fresh Adaptation Brings Seaside Gangsters to Stage; A Play about Teenage Knife Crime Sounds Horribly Topical but Brighton Rock Dates from the 1930s. DAVID WHETSTONE Previews a Production Coming Our Way

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fresh Adaptation Brings Seaside Gangsters to Stage; A Play about Teenage Knife Crime Sounds Horribly Topical but Brighton Rock Dates from the 1930s. DAVID WHETSTONE Previews a Production Coming Our Way

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

BRIGHTON Rock, Graham Greene's tense and atmospheric murder thriller, was published in 1938, introducing readers to dangerous young gangster Pinkie Brown.

It was turned into a film in 1947 and again in 2010 when Pinkie was played by Sam Riley and Rose, his innocent and imperilled bride, by Tyneside-born Andrea Riseborough.

Now it is being brought to the stage in Newcastle in a new co-production by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal which is on a UK tour.

Pilot Theatre collaborated with Northern Stage two years ago on The Season Ticket (an adaptation of the film Purely Belter) and it is to Northern Stage that this production is coming next month.

It is being directed by Esther Richardson, the new artistic director of Pilot Theatre, there's a soundtrack by Hannah Peel and the novel was adapted for the stage by Bryony Lavery whose play Frozen was a hit in Britain and on Broadway.

Playing teenage sociopath Pinkie, the man not afraid to use a knife, will be Jacob James Beswick.

Sarah Middleton is cast as Rose and Gloria Onitiri is to play Ida, the brave middle-aged entertainer (played by Helen Mirren in the 2010 film) who senses that Pinkie is a dangerous hoodlum who must be stopped.

Bryony Lavery answered some questions about the forthcoming attraction.

How did you get involved in adapting Graham Greene's novel for the stage? "I was commissioned by Esther Richardson and Pilot. Esther came to me and said she really wanted to work with me and did I know Brighton Rock? I said I knew it a bit. As I always do with an adaptation, I read the book. If I love it, I do it and if I can find a way of doing it - even if it's going to be hard - I also do it. My absolute rule for doing any work at all is that the heart must lift at the thought. I will say yes if I have time to do it. If my heart drops, I won't. I have turned down certain novels because I don't feel any affinity with them."

How well did you know Brighton Rock? "I read the book a long time ago. I have never seen the original film but, quite by chance, had seen the latest 2010 film version with Sam Riley and Helen Mirren. I'm avoiding seeing the original 1947 film until completing the adaptation. Then I am going to treat myself to watching it."

Why adapt Brighton Rock for the stage? "Because it is such a treasure chest of narrative delights. It has got everything.

It's a love story, a revenge tragedy, a small-town murder mystery, an array of small-time gangsters and a middle-aged woman who knows no fear and who will stop at nothing to do right. In the poisoned relationship between Pinkie and Rose, there is one of the best accounts ever of what it is like to be 16 and 17 years old in a terrible, violent, adolescence."

How much collaboration was there with director Esther Richardson in shaping the adaptation? …

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