Voyage round a true genius and eccentric

BEFORE its eagerly-awaited UK tour, John Mortimer’s autobiographical play A Voyage Round My Father opens in Bath from Thursday 28th September to Saturday 7th October.

Starring Rupert Everett and Julian Wadham, the cast of the Richard Eyre production also features Eleanor David and Jack Bardoe.

John Mortimer grew up in the shadow of his brilliant and eccentric barrister father, whose family never mentioned his blindness. The young the son continually yearned for his father’s love and respect, while listening to the extraordinary man, who adored his garden and hated visitors, and whose tea-time conversation could take in music hall, adultery, evolution, Shakespeare, the ridiculous inconvenience of sex and the importance of avoiding anything heroic in wartime.

A Voyage Round My Father introduces its audience to an intriguing world of hilarious eccentrics, bumbling headteachers and exasperated relatives, while shining a light on the delicate relationship between a young man and his father.

Rupert Everett, who in July 2019 made his directorial debut at Bath Theatre Royal with Uncle Vanya in which he also played the title role, is the Father.

Julian Wadham plays the roles of the headmaster, Boustead, Sparks, Second Judge and the doctor. Eleanor David plays Mother and Doris, with Jack Bardoe as the son, and Allegra Marland as Iris and Elizabeth. Completing the cast and playing multiple roles are John Dougall, Heather Bleasdale, Richard Hodder, Calum Finlay and Zena Carswell.

John Mortimer was a novelist, playwright and a barrister in his own right, renowned for his political dramas. He was the creator of the acclaimed Rumpole of the Bailey, which ran for seven series spanning three decades on television, and was also featured in short stories, novels and forty episodes performed on radio. A Voyage Round My Father was first dramatised for BBC Radio in 1963 in a series of three half-hour sketches, before it was seen as a television play starring Mark Dignam, Ian Richardson and Arthur Lowe. It was adapted for the stage, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1971 starring Alec Guinness and Jeremy Brett. It returned to television screens in 1982 as a film, shot in Mortimer’s own house and starring Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Elizabeth Sellars and Jane Asher.

Performances in Bath are nightly at 7.30, ( not Sunday and on Wednesday 4th October at 7pm) with matinees on Thursday 5th and Saturday 7th October at 2.30pm.