Shadowlands tugs at the heartstrings

WILLIAM Nicholson’s powerful and deeply moving Shadowlands comes to The Court Theatre and I’d advise you to take tissues to this five-hankie weepie.

This heart-rending tale started life on BBC television in 1986, before it was adapted as an award winning stage play starring Nigel Hawthorne and then became a hugely successful film with Anthony Hopkins. It went to Milton Keynes Theatre five years ago with Charles Dance in the lead and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even male members of the audience found it difficult to suppress a lump in their throats.

It tells the story of the unusual and extremely moving relationship between C S Lewis, the English academic and writer of many children’s books including The Narnia Chronicles and Joy Gresham, an American poet and self-described Jewish-Communist-Christian.

Bill Oram, who directs, saw the film with his then fiancée Brenda back in 1994. “It made a big impact on me, one that has stayed with me ever since. When a suggestion that we might do the play was made all these years later, there was little to hold me back. I read the script at one sitting and was determined to stage it. Bob Theaker was keen to play Lewis and Sandy Turner was a clear first choice for Joy.”

Working on the play has been richly rewarding for the talented cast of ten and excellent technical team. “We are learning to be slightly detached when doing the really sad bits, and look forward to the performances when the strengths of the play can be truly judged. Audiences will love it.”, Bill added.

The Pendley Theatre Company’s Shadowlands runs from March 14-17. For tickets call the box office 07543 560 478 or www.courttheatre.co.uk