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ARCHIVE PAGE FOR - Tales from Hollywood

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Play by Christopher Hampton. Directed by John Crowley.

Where would you find Brecht, Mann and the Marx brothers rubbing shoulders? Whre else but Hollywood in the 1940s - an unlikely 'haven' for Eastern European emigre writers.

Christopher Hampton's wonderfully funny and surreal play takes us back to an imagined Tinseltown, where the clash of cultures in the film studios' corridors serves as a microcosm for the war raging elsewhere.

Cast includes: Ian Butcher, Andy Capie, Emma Cunniffe, Ben Daniels, Phil Davis, Gawn Grainger, David Hounslow, Richard Johnson, Nancy McClean, Lizzy McInnerny, Yvonne Riley, Ken Samuels, Sira Stampe and Glynne Steele.

Tales From Hollywood was originally staged at the Royal National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1983 when in won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for 'Best New Comedy'.

The following book is available to buy online: Hampton on Hampton
Since the acclaimed London premiere of his first play in 1966, Christopher Hampton has established himself as one of Britain's most prominent, and least predictable, dramatists. Hampton eloquently - and entertainingly - explores his varied career with interviewer Alistair Owen. Buy online....

Donmar Warehouse Theatre Previewed 19 April 2001, Opened 1 May 2001, Closed 23 June 2001

Extracts from the reviews:

"Tales From Hollywood by Christopher Hampton is a 1982 play about European refugee writers in pre-war California knocking out scripts for Warner Brothers - which was better than the alternative: staying at home knocking out scripts for Goebbels... Directed by John Crowley inside an empty swimming pool for a set, it is well-acted, civilised entertainment but, like almost everything one sees at this fashionable theatre, it's suffocatingly safe." The Express

"Suppose Odon von Horvath wasn't killed as he took shelter from a storm in the Paris of 1938. Suppose that falling branch splintered someone else's head, and the wryly observant author of Tales from the Vienna Woods went on to join Brecht, the Mann brothers and the other German-speaking writers who were escaping Hitler in Hollywood. You've just supposed the opening of what's surely Christopher Hampton's finest play, the one that best deserves the spare, sharp revival John Crowley is offering at the Donmar Warehouse..." The Times

"Christopher Hampton, who has a sharper sense of irony than most, would no doubt find great irony the current revival of his outstanding play. For years now, the dramatist has devoted much of his time to developing screenplays, many of which never made it to the cinema. Yet, as Tales from Hollywood demonstrates, no writer is more keenly aware of the absurdity, the shabby compromises and the waste of the film business. Apart from his translations of Yasmina Reza [Art, Life X 3 and The Unexpected Man], this witty, civilised writer has been absent from our stages for far too long. So it's a real pleasure to welcome John Crowley's fine revival of this richly entertaining and touching play, first staged at the National in 1983... Atmospherically designed by Scott Pask on a swimming-pool set that wittily recalls another Hollywood tale, Sunset Boulevard, this is a play that combines intelligence, wit, and humanity with rare dramatic grace." The Daily Telegraph

"...Basing his witty play upon this clash between European high-mindedness and Hollywood's brash materialism, with its gawdy lashings of vulgarity, Christopher Hampton wrote an astute comedy in which you hear the still, small clash of opposing values and beliefs. First seen and admired in 1983 at the National Theatre, Tales from Hollywood, in John Crowley's handsomely staged and acted production, now strikes me as a theatrical kaleidoscope of historically researched sketches, impressions and anecdotes that convey a sense of what it is to be an artist in exile. There's not a single thematic line of argument or action, but the play is subtly distilled through the reminiscences of Ben Daniels's Odon von Horvath, the anti-Nazi Austro-Hungarian playwright, killed in a weird accident in 1938..." The London Evening Standard

 
 
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