|Following her sell-out productions of J.M. Barrie’s What Every Woman Knows and Quality Street last year, director Louise Hill returns to the Finborough Theatre with Sutton Vane’s 1920s West End and Broadway hit, Outward Bound, opening on 31 January 2012.
Seven passengers meet in the saloon bar of a ship as it sets sail from an unidentified English port. Socialite Mrs Cliveden-Banks is on her way to join her husband, a Colonel in the army; Mr Lingley has important business in Marseilles; charlady Mrs Midget is making her first passage by sea; Reverend William Duke is looking forward to a holiday, while Tom Prior intends to spend the journey in the ship’s saloon bar. Also on board are Henry and Ann, a young couple who seem anxious for the ship to leave port. But the travellers have more in common than they dare to suspect. Out at sea, an eerie calm settles over the ship as Tom is the first to discover the fate which awaits his fellow passengers…
Outward Bound was first produced at a London Off West End theatre – the Everyman Theatre, Hampstead (now the Everyman Cinema) and instantly became the biggest hit of the 1923 season, going on to play for many years in the West End, appearing at the Garrick, Royalty, Adelphi, Criterion, Comedy, Fortune and Prince of Wales Theatres. The play was also a huge hit on Broadway in 1924, where it was a similarly huge success in a production starring Alfred Lunt and Leslie Howard. The play was made into a 1930 film in Hollywood by Warner Bros. starring Leslie Howard and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and was filmed again as Between Two Worlds in 1944 with John Garfield and Sydney Greenstreet. This production is the first London production in more than fifty years, and returns the play to a the same type of Off West End theatre where it began its life.