sat 19/09/2020

Natural Pursuits: Simon Gray at BFI Southbank | reviews, news & interviews

Natural Pursuits: Simon Gray at BFI Southbank

Natural Pursuits: Simon Gray at BFI Southbank

It’s hardly as if he needed critical resuscitation, but the work of Simon Gray is enjoying a moment in the limelight. Butley, starring Dominic West, is currently on in the West End, while in August BFI Southbank is to show a season of films written by Gray for the small screen and large.

month_in_the_countryAmong his films written for the BBC are his Play for Today double bill Plaintiffs and Defendants and Two Sundays, shown in 1975 and both starring Alan Bates. From his scripts for Screen Two there are After Pilkington starring Bob Peck and Miranda Richardson as childhood sweethearts who meet again in later life, Old Flames, a drama set in the world of barristers with a rare dramatic role for Stephen Fry, also starring Simon Callow and Miriam Margolyes, and They Never Slept, a World War Two drama starring Edward Fox and Harriet Walter. From his screenplays for the cinema there is A Month in the Country, based on JL Carr’s novel about two young men returning from the trenches, supplying Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh with eye-catching early roles. There is also a screening of Butley, as filmed by Harold Pinter and starring Bates in a career-defining role.

butleyThere are also events after two screenings. After They Never Slept, producer Kenith Trodd and directors Udayan Prasad and Christopher Morahan will reminisce about working with Gray, and Lindsay Posner, director of the West End revival of Butley, will discuss the play after Pinter’s film is screened.

For anyone who can’t wait till August, there is a star-studded reading of Gray’s play The Rear Column, directed by Harry Burton, on Tuesday, 5 July at 6pm at The Print Room, 34 Hereford Road, London W2. Among the actors will be Toby StephensJames Purefoy, Robert Portal, Chris Larkin and Harry Hadden-Paton. Enquire at The Print Room if you want a ticket.

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