Julie Atherton, Ben Lewis, Jeremy Legat and Claire Greenway to appear in world premiere of Émile Zola’s THÉRÈSE RAQUIN at Finborough Theatre

Theatre Bench in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre presents 

The World Premiere

Émile Zola’s
Ben Lewis and Julie Atherton - Thérèse Raquin
Photo Credit Darren Bell
Music by Craig Adams. Book and Lyrics by Nona Shepphard.

Directed by Nona Shepphard. Designed by Laura Cordery. Lighting by Neil Fraser.
Cast: Julie Atherton. Lila Clements. Claire Greenway. Tara Hugo. Ellie Kirk. Jeremy Legat.
Ben Lewis. Gary Tushaw. Verity Quade. Matt Wilman

A story of paralysing passion…

Following the sell-out success of its workshop as part of Vibrant 2012 - A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, and as part of the Finborough Theatre's acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series, the world premiere of a new musical adaptation of the classic French novel Thérèse Raquin opens at the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre for a four week run, opening Tuesday, 25 March 2014 (Press Night: Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 7.30pm), starring Julie Atherton and Olivier Award nominee Tara Hugo.

19th Century Paris. Behind the counter of a small dusty haberdasher’s shop near the Seine in the dank, narrow Passage du Pont Neuf, sit Madame Raquin and her beautiful niece Thérèse whom she has married off to her sickly son Camille in a loveless match. While he is out working, Thérèse serves in the shop and the monotony is only broken on Thursday nights, when Madame plays dominoes with a strange assortment of old friends.

On one such Thursday, Camille brings a childhood friend to the party - the bluff and attractive Laurent. He inspires such an incredibly powerful passion in Thérèse that she abandons all her inhibitions and her loyalties. This brutal and overwhelming passion overturns all their lives and has results nobody could have foreseen.

In keeping with the innovative and challenging nature of the original work, this radical new musical adaptation uses music and lyrics to heighten and distil the underlying themes. It features a company of twelve who play the main roles of Thérèse, Laurent, Camille and Madame Raquin, as well as their Thursday night domino playing companions and a watchful and distrustful chorus.

Émile Zola (1840–1902) was a novelist, playwright and journalist, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in his renowned letter J'accuse. Zola was nominated for both the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.

Thérèse Raquin was Zola's first major work, originally published in serial format in 1867 the journal L'Artiste and – due to its huge and immediate popularity – in book format in 1868, gaining additional publicity when critic Louis Ulbach called the book "putrid". In 1873, Zola adapted the novel into a play, although it did not receive its London première until 1891, due to the Lord Chamberlain's censorship. Both the novel and the play have been seen in many stage, screen, television and radio adaptations including a 2013 Hollywood film.

Nona Shepphard (Book, Lyrics and Direction) began her theatrical career in her hometown as an actor at the Liverpool Playhouse, where she played in repertory for two years; she directed her first play at the Nuffield Theatre Southampton and wrote her first play when she was Associate Director at the Chester Gateway Theatre. Since then she has worked freelance as a writer, director and deviser with over 150 productions and 40 commissioned plays to her credit.    Her plays have been performed in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Europe and Russia. She is an Associate Director of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and International Consultant at the Lir Academy in Dublin.

Craig Adams (Music) is a composer, lyricist, and arranger. He was Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer at the Finborough Theatre, facilitated by Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network UK. Craig’s first musical Lift, developed in association with Perfect Pitch, received its world premiere at Soho Theatre in February 2013 and is now being licensed around the world, with an Off Broadway run in November 2013 and a WhatsOnStage nomination for Best Original Score 2014. Other writing includes DEFECT (as part of Vibrant 2013 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights at the Finborough Theatre), 101 Dalmatians (The Castle, Wellingborough), Ghosts Of The Past and The Watchers (YMT:UK), Ballet People (The Place), Battlement (Vanbrugh Theatre), Let Him Have Justice (Cochrane Theatre), Spell, The Frog Prince (Wimbledon Studio Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Alice in Wonderland (Edinburgh Festival and tour). He is currently working an adaptation of the Terry Pratchett novel Soul Music for YMT:UK, and a dance piece based on acclaimed children’s book Bob Robber and Dancing Jane entitled Shadowthief which will premiere in summer 2014.

The cast –

Julie Atherton | Thérèse Raquin
Theatre includes Lift (Soho Theatre), Sister Act (UK Tour), The Hired Man (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Ordinary Days (Finborough Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) and Fame (Aldwych Theatre).
Recording include A Girl of Few Words and No Space For Air.

Lila Clements | Suzanne
Theatre includes Golden Hearts (Tamasha Theatre), Dick Whittington (Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford), Beauty and the Beast (Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford), Whisky Galore – A Musical! (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), The Kissing Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (OpenAir Tour) and Into the Woods (Greenwich Theatre).

Claire Greenway | River Woman
Theatre includes James and the Giant Peach (UK Tour), Spinach (King's Head Theatre), Sister Act (London Palladium), Betwixt! (King's Head Theatre) and Cinderella (Epsom Playhouse).
Film includes Anna Karenina.

Tara Hugo | Madame
Theatre includes Legacy Falls (New Players Theatre and New Your Musical Festival), La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory), Olivier Award nominee for Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse) and The Bacchae (New York Shakespeare Festival).
Recordings include Tara Hugo Sings Philip Glass.

Ellie Kirk | River Woman
Theatre includes The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (The North Wall, Oxford), Lift (Soho Theatre), The Alchemist (Liverpool Playhouse), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre).

Jeremy Legat | Camille
Theatre includes Peter Pan (Richmond Theatre), Curtains (Landor Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre) and Beautiful Thing (Haymarket Theatre, Leicester).
Television includes Canoe Man (BBC), Hustle (BBC), Surviving Disaster (BBC), Hope and Glory (BBC).

Ben Lewis | Laurent
Theatre includes Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory), Love Never Dies (Australia), A Little Night Music (Opera Australia), Spamalot (Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne) and Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Sydney).
Television includes Doctors (BBC).
Film includes Love Never Dies.

Gary Tushaw | Grivet
Theatre includes The Mousetrap (St Martins Theatre), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Piccadilly Theatre), The Hired Man (Curve Theatre, Leicester), Return of the Solider (Landor Theatre), Bonnie and Clyde (King's Head Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Southwark Playhouse), Our Miss Gibbs (Finborough Theatre) and The Tempest (New Wolsey Theatre).

Verity Quade | River Woman
Theatre includes Sister Act (London Palladium), Strictly Gershwin (Royal Albert Hall), Honk! (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), The Sound of Music (London Palladium), Jerry Springer the Opera (Cambridge Theatre) and Lucky Nurse and Other Short Musical Plays (Finborough Theatre).
Television includes National Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Gala.

Matt Wilman | Oarsman
Theatre includes Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory), Blood Wedding (Courtyard Theatre), The Tailor Made Man (Arts Theatre), Finding Neverland (Curve Theatre, Leicester), Anna Christie (Donmar Warehouse), Wonderful Town (UK Tour), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Gielgud Theatre) and Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre).

Theatre Bench was launched by Jim Zalles in October 2012 to support the development of new works in theatre and dance. In partnership with Perfect Pitch Musicals and Ros Povey Productions, Jim produced the world premiere of Craig Adams and Ian Watson’s LIFT at Soho Theatre in February 2013, which was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award. He has also produced the one man show Our Friends The Enemy at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival, along with several standalone cabarets at the St James Studio Theatre. Current projects include the sold out hit play Carthage at the Finborough Theatre, Drunk at the Bridewell Theatre (a co-production with the McOnie Company) and Shadowthief, a dance theatre piece from composer Craig Adams and choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves which will have its world premiere at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

In 2006, the Finborough Theatre began the Celebrating British Music Theatre series with a sell-out production of Leslie Stuart’s Florodora. Productions since then have included sell-out rediscoveries of Lionel Monckton’s Our Miss Gibbs, Harold Fraser-Simson’s operetta The Maid of the Mountains, A "Gilbert and Sullivan" Double Bill featuring Gilbert’s play Sweethearts and Sullivan’s opera The Zoo, Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, Sandy Wilson’s The Buccaneer, Oscar Asche’s Chu Chin Chow, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, Ivor Novello's Perchance to Dream and Gay's The Word, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke,  Edward German's Merrie England and Paul Scott Goodman's Rooms: A Rock Romance. Other productions include the professional world premiere of Ivor Novello's operetta Valley of Song in January 2014.

The Press on composer Craig Adams' musical LIFT at the Soho Theatre
"Adams' witty and poignant score." «««« WhatsOnStage
“Adams’ rangy, rocky, highly emotive vocal lines give voice to real feelings urgently expressed in that edgy “now” kind of way. He has a real gift...for heightening and powering home the text and this bunch of voices – straight from the school of Rent and Spring Awakening – gave the piece terrific immediacy.” Edward Seckerson, The Independent.
"Delightful songs...vibrant songwriting that fills you with electricity." Huffington Post
"Craig Adams' score has a fresh, unique sound" West End Frame
"Adams' pop score is emotive and catchy."  Official London Theatre

The Press on Nona Shepphard
"Shepphard’s work is superlative, creating a gripping tale which pulls apart the myths of mental illness, domestic violence and female sexuality." The Stage on Crazy Lady
"The play is impeccably well structured and a magnificent twist and strong ending make it a very satisfying piece." BBC Radio Manchester on Crazy Lady
"This fantastic show deserved the standing ovation it received... Shepphard’s alert and outstanding writing...made for an exceptionally heartfelt and compassionate play." The Birmingham Post on Signs Of A Star Shaped Diva
"Nona Shepphard’s smart, witty play is part of the next phase of gay theater." San Diego News Network on The Marriage Bed
"Shakespeare is safe with Nona Shepphard, whose intelligent, ingenious play is a fascinating interpretation of the events in The Winter’s Tale...A piece of high quality theatre." The Stage on A Tale For Winter at the Tricycle Theatre

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Box Office 0844 847 1652   Book online at
Tuesday, 25 March – Saturday, 19 April 2014
Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm. Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm. Saturday matinees at 3.00pm (from 29 March 2014).
Prices for Weeks One and Two (25 March – 5 April 2014) – Tickets £16, £14 concessions, except Tuesday Evenings £14 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £16 all seats.  Previews (25 and 26 March) £12 all seats.
£10 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.
£12 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 29 March 2014 when booked online.
Prices for Weeks Three and Four (8 April – 19 April 2014) – Tickets £18, £16 concessions, except Tuesday Evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.
Performance Length: Approximately two and a half hours with one interval of fifteen minutes.