Bryony Lavery’s Brighton Rock adaptation to tour in 2018

Pilot Theatre has again joined forces with York Theatre Royal to premiere Brighton Rock, Tony-Award nominee Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation of Graham Greene’s iconic 1938 novel of sin and redemption.

Directed by Pilot’s new artistic director, Esther Richardson, and featuring a soundtrack composed by singer, musician and composer Hannah Peel, Brighton Rock will open at York Theatre Royal in February and then tour until the end of May.

Bryony Lavery
Hannah Peel

Seventeen-year olds, Pinkie and Rose, get embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton where one brutal murder leads to the next.

The police are impassive – but the courageous and life embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she’ll see justice is done.

Director Esther Richardson said: “Brighton Rock is a brilliant, brutal and unsettling coming of age story set in an age of advanced austerity and against the backdrop of a society riven with inequality.

“We are thrilled at Pilot to be able to present a fresh, resonant adaptation of this masterpiece. This will be a show that will grapple with the questions posed and feelings generated by more dangerous times”.

Written in 1938, Graham Greene’s classic novel of good and evil was first adapted for the stage at the Garrick Theatre with Richard Attenborough playing Pinkie, a role he resumed in the iconic 1947 film version.

In 2010 Greene’s novel was remade, setting it in 1964, with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren. In 1993 Vicky Featherstone directed David Hurlock’s stage adaptation of the novel at West Yorkshire Playhouse and, in 2004, John Barry and Don Black wrote a musical version which ran at the Almeida Theatre.

Bryony Lavery’s plays include A Wedding Story, Last Easter, Her Aching Heart (Pink Paper Play of The Year 1992) Smoke, Dirt, and More Light.

Her play, Frozen, won the TMA Best Play Award and was then produced on Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony Awards. A revival of the play will be staged at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in February.

Playwright Bryony Lavery said about her new adaptation: “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.”

The production will feature a specially composed soundtrack by the Northern Irish artist, singer and electronic composer and member of The Magnetic North, Hannah Peel.

Composer Hannah Peel said: “The menacing aspects to the 1930s story are even more resonant today so I am really excited about working Pilot theatre for this incredible stage version of Brighton Rock.

“With an even greater sense darkness in the current world climate, my mind is already buzzing from the amount of music and sonic possibilities we will be bringing live to the stage”.

Brighton Rock will open at York Theatre Royal from February 16 – March 3 and then tour.


March 6 – 10, Brighton Theatre Royal
March 13 – 17, Mercury Theatre Colchester
March 20 – 24, Hull Truck Theatre
March 27 – 31, Everyman, Cheltenham
April 10 – 14, Birmingham Repertory Theatre
April 19 – 21, Theatre Royal, Winchester
April 24 – 28, Watford Palace
May 1 – 5, Northern Stage
May 8 – 12, Theatr Clwyd
May 15 – 19, Derby Theatre
May 22 – 26, The Lowry, Salford

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