The Circle at Bath

THREE of the country’s finest stage actors – Jane Asher, Clive Francis and Nicholas Le Prevost – head the cast of an acclaimed revival of Somerset Maugham’s elegant social satire The Circle, which begins a UK tour at Bath Theatre Royal from Wednesday 10th to Saturday 20th January.

One review of Tom Littler’s production for the Orange Tree Theatre, where it opened last year, said the theatre’s new artistic director had made “one of the more radical choices one can make in 2023 – directing a 102 year-old play pretty much how it would have been done in 1921.”

Lady Kitty (Jane Asher), a society beauty, notoriously abandoned her stuffy husband Clive Champion-Cheney (Clive Francis) and young son to elope with the handsome Lord Porteous (Nicholas Le Prevost). Thirty years later, love’s young dream has descended into non-stop squabbling. Meanwhile Clive and Lady Kitty’s son Arnold, faces the same marital fate, as his wife Elizabeth threatens to elope with the dashing Teddie Luton. Will history come full circle? Or can one generation learn from their parents’ mistakes?

Somerset Maugham’s stylish drama explores the conflict between romance and responsibility with his characteristically shrewd understanding of human nature.

Jane Asher has a long career on stage, film and television, including Brideshead Revisited, Poirot, plays at the National Theatre, Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway. Her appearances at Bath include Moon Tiger in 2014, Charley’s Aunt in 2012, The Reluctant Debutante in 2011 and A Song at Twilight in 2019.

Clive Francis, most recently seen at Bath before Christmas in I’m Sorry, Prime Minister, I Don’t Have A Clue, and Enron in 2010, has had a long and wide-ranging career, from the 1975 Poldark series to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, The Crown and, most recently, The Larkins.

Nicholas Le Prevost, last seen at Bath in the title role in Uncle Vanya in 2008, received an Olivier Award nomination for his role as Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady at the National Theatre. His many television and film appearances include Cranford, The Camomile Lawn, Land Girls, Up the Garden Path and Mary Whitehouse.

The popular British novelist, playwright and short-story writer, Somerset Maugham, was the highest-paid author in the world in the 1930s. His plays include The Letter and The Constant Wife, and his novels include Of Human Bondage and The Moon and Sixpence.

Photographs by Ellie Kurttz