The Waltz Of The ToreadorsBy Jean Anouilh
Directed by James Roose Evans
The Belgrade Theatre Company
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
First performance 9th June
General St. Pe ..... Frank Finlay
Emily, his wife ..... Cherry Morris
Gaston, his secretary ..... Richard Martln
Estella ..... Margo Jenkins
Sidonia ..... Jacqueline Wilson
Doctor Bonfont ..... Richard Briers
Mlle. Ghislaine de Ste-Euverte ..... Rhoda Lewis
Eugenie, a maid ...... Barbara Atkinson
Mme. Dupont-Fredaine ..... Patsy Byrne
Father Ambrose ..... Tan White
Pamela, a maid ..... Lindsey Dyer
"THE success of any production of "The Waltz of the Toreadors," Jean Anouilh's brilliant comedy with a bitter undertone, depends essentially on one performance. At the Belgrade Theatre that performance is subtle and strong.
It is by Frank Finlay, as General St. Pe, the retired soldier whose amorous adventures are the core of a play which moves between farce and high comedy yet is touched with a sad wisdom that remains in the mind when laughter is over.
This is a performance I would not have missed".
Frank seems to have stolen the reviews in this production at the Belgrade although there were good reviews for other members of the cast including another fine young actor - Richard Briers.
"Richard Briers brings to the doctor-confidant-Âphilosopher the fortitude of one who has long since realised that all the individual can do is live in the private hell which is largely of his own making".
Richard and Frank would become lifelong friends.
Director James Roose-Evans has had a very distinguished career as a theatre director, writer on experimental theatre and teacher at RADA and Central School. In 1959 Roose-Evans founded the Hampstead Theatre Club and remained their till 1971 - with many productions transferring to the West End.
He is probably best known for 84, Charing Cross Road, which he adapted for the stage - directing its world premiere at the Salisbury Playhouse in the summer of 1981.
Frank would go on to play Frank Doel in the Hugh Whitemore adaptation of 84, Charing Cross Road for the BBC's Play for Today (1975) and his old friend from early NT days Sir Anthony Hopkins would play the part in the 1987 film version.