Rose Theatre Kingston, The Original Theatre Company and Karl Sydow today announce the first major UK revival of Stephen Jeffreys’ Valued Friends, directed by Michael Fentiman. The production opens at Rose Theatre Kingston as part of their autumn season on 26 September, with previews from 20 September, and runs until 12 October.
It’s 1980s London and change is happening. The city is ablaze with social, political and cultural upheaval and, in a basement flat in Earls Court, four friends in their mid-thirties are scrabbling to keep their heads above water.
Housemates for more than 10 years, Sherry is a hapless, quirky comedian; Paul, a keen music journalist; Marion, a straight-talking realist; and Howard, an earnest academic writing about the corruption of capitalism. The friends are thrown unexpectedly into a battle of nerves when a young, confident property developer offers them a substantial fee to vacate their home in West London.
Spurred on by the revolutions of their time, they quickly realise that they hold all the cards in this real-life game of Monopoly and over the course of three years, they manipulate a burgeoning property market one cup of tea at a time.
Stephen Jeffreys’ play was an instant classic when first performed at Hampstead Theatre in 1989. It won the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, with a cast that featured Peter Capaldi, Martin Clunes, Jane Horrocks, and Tim McInnerny.
Valued Friends is a compelling comedy drama set to the soundtrack of 1980’s London and against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain. This production directed by Michael Fentiman will be the first revival of the play in 30 years.
Stephen Jeffreys’ wife, actor and director Annabel Arden, said today, “I met Stephen in 1997 and have never seen a production of Valued Friends. For people who did see the two celebrated productions, it is very often their favourite play and they all say how hilarious, sad and incredibly prophetic it is. When I read it, I laughed-out-loud and I am really astonished at how relevant it is to today’s turbulent economic and political climate. Stephen’s sons and I are so thrilled that there will now be a chance to see the play again. Stephen, the most generous of men, would be happy to know that the play which launched his career will be the first to be revived after his death, and so launch his legacy.”