Ustinov premiere for French play

ONE of France’s most successful new plays, Farewell Mister Haffmann, gets its UK and English language premiere at the Ustinov Studio at Bath Theatre Royal from 24th August to 23rd September. The Second World War drama by Jean-Philippe Daguerre has been translated by Jeremy Sams and is directed by Lindsay Posner.

The year is 1942. Paris is under Nazi occupation. Joseph Haffmann, a Jewish owner of a jewellery shop and his long-standing employee Pierre Vigneau change roles as part of a strange deal to secure their safety. Joseph will transfer the ownership of the store to Pierre, but asks that Pierre hides him from the Nazis. In return, Pierre insists that Joseph enter a very unusual arrangement with his wife, Isabelle. Add to that a Matisse painting, an ‘art loving’ Nazi officer and marital difficulties amplified by the bizarre domestic situation; it is no wonder that Pierre is driven to the brink.

Director Lindsay Posner says: “Set in Nazi-occupied Paris, Farewell Mister Haffmann provides an entertaining and moving exploration of individual and collective moral dilemmas. This play’s political relevance cannot be over-estimated.”

The French play Adieu Monsieur Haffmann by Jean-Philippe Daguerre has enjoyed commercial and critical success in France. The winner of four Molière Awards in 2018, including Best New Play, it is one of France’s longest running productions and was recently made into a film starring Daniel Auteuil.

The Bath production stars Lisa Dillon (Cranford, Suffragette, RSC), Josefina Gabrielle (Oklahoma!, Les Misérables, Heartbeat), Alexander Hanson (Noises Off, Follies, The Truth), Nigel Lindsay (The Capture, White Gold, The Lehman Trilogy) and Ciarán Owens (The Windsors, Peaky Blinders, Father Brown).

Jeremy Sams recently directed the UK premiere of Roman Holiday at the Theatre Royal Bath. A translator, director, composer, and playwright, his translations and adaptations have been used at the National Theatre, on Broadway, in the West End, and by English National Opera and New York’s Metropolitan Opera

One of this country’s leading directors, Lindsay Posner returns to Bath’s Ustinov Studio following his acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the start of this year. His many previous productions at Bath include, most recently, Noises Off, God of Carnage, Stones in His Pockets, She Stoops to Conquer and Hay Fever.