Son of Man

By Dennis Potter
Directed by Robin Midgley

Phoenix Theatre, Leicester from October 22nd, 1969 (4 weeks)
The Round House, London from November 12th, 1969

  • Frank Finlay: Jesus
    David Daker: Simon Peter
    Stanley Lebor: Andrew
    Nicholas Chagrin: James
    Graham Berown: John
    Joseph O'Conner: Pontius Pilate
    David Henry: Commander
    Noel Collins: Captain, Soldier, First Heckler
    Roy Boyd: Centurion, Boxer
    Paul Jaybee: Soldier, Boxer
    Miles Greenwood: Soldier, Second Moneylender, Leper
    Michael Sadler: Soldier
    Ian Mullins: Soldier, Boxer
    Stephen Macdonald: Judas, Second Priest
    Douglas Storm: First Priest
    Linda Polan: Procola
    Liane Aukin: Ruth
    Penelope Nice: Serving Girl
    Andrew Neil: Zealot, Second Heckler
    Andrew Jarvis: Dove Seller
    Susan Todd: Marker Woman

    "An inspired performance by Frank Finlay made this Jesus a warm and credible human being."

    Leicester Mercury 23/10/1969

  • The abiding memory of Midgley's production, which came for a season to the much lamented Roundhouse in London (where its author finally got to see it), is that we all filed out in silence at the end, eschewing the regulation curtain call. The play ends with Christ crucified, a long dialogue- free sequence characterised, in its first director's phrase, by "a real tension about the mechanics".

    "At the Phoenix," recalls Midgley, "it was necessary for the audience to walk down towards the stage because the exits were at stage level. On the first night the audience just didn't leave. The doors were open, the house lights up, and everybody just sat there with Frank [Finlay] on the cross. You can't very well come out and say, 'Please go now'. So it took about a quarter of an hour for the auditorium to start to empty.

    "That night and every night, people would come up on to the stage and put their hands on his feet and say, 'Thank you very much'. And there were tears. I've never known such a thing. And we never had applause at the end. But Dennis meant it to be incomplete. It was the death of a man. There was no question of a rising again."

    THEATRE: And Potter created the Son of Man... The Independent W. Stephen Gilbert Tuesday 10 October 1995