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But It Still Goes On

“Robert graves' lost tragicomedy”

It’s the law of theatre that if there’s a gun on stage it will go off before the play ends. In Robert Graves’ unperformed 1929 play But It Still Goes On – receiving its world premiere in Fidelis Morgan’s production – a pistol is the instrument of a warped parlour game engineered by the deeply insecure Dick Tompion (Alan Cox) in order to torment his monstrous father and bring about a “post-catastrophic tragedy” through farce.

Commissioned with an eye to its being a follow-up to Journey’s End but eventually rejected, this play is an unpredictable mix of dark, dysfunctional family comedy (often deviously funny) and a scathing exposition of the disillusionment of the survivors of the First World War, before ultimately lapsing into full-blown melodrama.

Many scenes take a blusteringly declamatory tone as if being performed in the West End, and although the manic energy never flags, it’s overwhelming in such an intimate venue.

It would be helpful to know which passages feature Morgan’s additional dialogue. A delicately frank discussion of homosexuality as a natural state in which some people are born, yet needing to disguise it in order to pass as ‘normal’ members of society, is the most affecting scene and beautifully played by Sophie Ward and Victor Gardener.

Located in an enclosed conservatory-like setting and attractively and appropriately costumed by Lindsay Hill, there’s a constantly expressionistic undertone embodied by a young soldier in the shadows, a symbol of the damage inflicted by a toxic family as much as the war.


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Production Details
Production nameBut It Still Goes On
VenueFinborough Theatre
StartsJuly 10, 2018
EndsAugust 4, 2018
Running time2hrs 20mins
AuthorFidelis Morgan, Robert Graves
DirectorFidelis Morgan
Set designerDoug Mackie
Costume designerLindsay Hill
Lighting designerMatt Cater
Sound designerBenjamin Winter
CastAlan Cox, Charlotte Weston, Claire Redcliffe, Hayward B. Morse, Jack Klaff, Joshua Ward, Rachel Pickup, Sophie Ward, Victor Gardener
Stage managerAlexandra Kataigida
ProducerAndrew Maunder, Arsalan Sattari, Finborough Theatre
VerdictRobert Graves' lost tragicomedy is revived in a pressure cooker production
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Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

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