In rehearsal: Limehouse

Reporter: Robin Johnson, first published Thu 16 Feb 2017 17:34
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How do you rehearse a thrilling new drama which takes you behind the close doors of a pivotal moment in the making of political history? These first rehearsal snaps of Limehouse seem to reveal the key: liquid refreshment.

The play imagines what happened when the ‘Gang of Four’ met in 1981 to break away from the Labour party and form the SDP. Casting includes Roger Allam as Roy Jenkins and Tom Goodman-Hill as David Owen, Paul Chahidi as Bill Rogers and Debra Gillett as Shirley Williams. Nathalie Armin will play Debbie Owen, wife of David Owen and co-host of that momentous day in east London. The production is directed by Olivier Award-winning Polly Findlay, who makes her Donmar debut.

One Sunday morning, four prominent Labour politicians – Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins and David Owen – gather in private at Owen’s home in Limehouse, east London. They are desperate to find a political alternative. Should they split their party, divide their loyalties, and risk betraying everything they believe in? Would they be starting afresh, or destroying forever the tradition that nurtured them?

Limehouse is a fictionalised account of real events. It is not endorsed by the individuals portrayed.

Limehouse plays at the Donmar Warehouse from 2 March; you can book your tickets through the venue's website.