Star cast assembles for online reading of Restoration comedy

Jermyn Street Theatre in London is to present an online reading of William Wycherley’s 1671 comedy, Love in a Wood, with a large cast of leading actors

Love In A Wood Jermyn Street Theatre

William Wycherley’s little-known Restoration comedy Love in a Wood is to be presented by Jermyn Street Theatre in an online reading by a star cast.

It will feature James Anderson, Linda Bassett, Lorna Brown, Nancy Carroll, Paul Chahidi, Debbie Chazen, Christopher Chung, Ellie Fanyinka, Ian Gelder, Nicholas Le Prevost, Danny Sapani, Jo Stone-Fewings, May Walker, Jules Melvin and Shaofan Wilson.

The reading of the 1671 play – a comedy of manners set around St James’s Park in London – has been conceived and directed by Hermione Gulliford, who will also take part.

It will be available to watch for free on Jermyn Street Theatre’s YouTube channel, at 7pm on Sunday 31 January. It aims to raise funds for Equity Charitable Trust, supporting industry professionals in need of urgent assistance, calling for donations HERE

Tom Littler, artistic director of Jermyn Street Theatre in St James’s, said: “I’m a big fan of Restoration comedy and I know many of our audience feel the same way. So when I heard that Hermione Gulliford had assembled such a fantastic cast for a Zoom reading of Love in a Wood – an underrated gem of a play – I rang her to ask if we could help.

“Every credit must go to Hermione and her company of actors, all volunteering their time. The reading is free but we’re raising donations for Equity Charitable Trust, who are doing crucial work at this tough time.”

Wycherley is one of the best-known writers of Restoration comedy, including The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer. Love in a Wood was his first play to be staged.

Gulliford said: “I read Love in a Wood while preparing to direct another Restoration comedy last year. I thought it was really funny with a fantastic range of characters. I’m a fan of the era and style, the plays are so rich, the characters so well drawn and the resonances with today are poignant. I just thought I’d test the water with a few mates to see if I could organise a little Zoom reading of it.

“Before I knew it, this incredible company of actors emerged, all doing it for the love of it, for free, so we thought, well, let’s see if we can raise some funds for Equity Charitable Trust, who are doing their best to help us, especially now through this pandemic.”

Love in a Wood will be edited by Daniel Morley-Fletcher and stage managed by Lou Ballard.

About Mark Ludmon 251 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.