The Private Ear and The Public Eye (2013)

The Original Theatre Company & Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

The Private Ear & The Public Eye (2013)

It is high comedy – sophisticated and wise. It soars and sings with the enchantment of a happy unfettered bird.” The New York Times

A West End and Broadway hit in 1962 creating stars out of a young Kenneth Williams and Maggie Smith, The Private Ear and The Public Eye are by the acclaimed, multi-award winning British playwright, Sir Peter Shaffer (Amadeus, Equus, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Lettice & Lovage and Five Finger Exercise). These intimate one act plays – both short and bitter-sweet comedies performed as a matching pair on the same night – give us a fascinating window into the turbulent changing attitudes to love in the 60s though a brilliant combination of comedy, pathos and drama.

The Details

Show, venue, reviews, cast and production details

A West End and Broadway hit in 1962 creating stars out of a young Kenneth Williams and Maggie Smith, The Private Ear and The Public Eye are by the acclaimed, multi-award winning British playwright, Sir Peter Shaffer (Amadeus, Equus, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Lettice & Lovage and Five Finger Exercise). These intimate one act plays – both short and bitter-sweet comedies performed as a matching pair on the same night – give us a fascinating window into the turbulent changing attitudes to love in the 60s though a brilliant combination of comedy, pathos and drama.

The Private Ear is set in a musky London bedsit where reclusive Bob, normally used to giving his full attention to his record collection calls in a favour from a savvy friend to help him treat his date, the beautiful but shy Doreen, to a slap up meal.

The Public Eye takes place in a swanky London accountancy office where uptight Charles is confronted by Julian, an eccentric private detective hired to investigate his young wife’s infidelity.

Bob expects help. Charles expects proof. But in this darkly comic double bill nothing is as it seems.

The Private Ear and The Public Eye star Jasper Britton one the UK’s leading classical actors fresh from a successful run of Race at Hampstead Theatre, Marat/Sade at the RSC London and The Last Cigarette (Chichester Festival Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), Rupert Hill known as ‘Jamie Baldwin’ from Coronation Street with theatre credits includingWhen Harry Met Sally and Future Me, Steven Blakely, known as ‘PC Geoff Younger’ in Heartbeat with theatre credits including Dry Rot and Funny Peculiar and Original Theatre regular Siobhan O’Kelly who has appeared in our productions of Dancing at Lughnasa, See How They Run and Twelfth Night as well as on screen in Inspector George Gently, Mutual Friends and Sky 1′s Treasure Island.

York Theatre Royal

Bath Theatre Royal

Cambridge Arts

Yvonne-Arnaud, Guildford

Milton Keynes Theatre

New Wolsey, Ipswich

Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke

Malvern Theatre

“Shafffer’s genius shines in revival.”

The Sunday Post


“A big hit for Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams in 1962, Peter Shaffer’s double bill still has charm, and intriguingly anticipates its author’s obsession with order and chaos in Amadeus and Equus. The Public Eye is the more compelling…and Jasper Britton is both desolate and ridiculous as the stuffy accountant who can’t love without wanting to control. His free-spirited younger wife is in danger of leaving him, until Steven Blakeley’s macaroon-munching sleuth takes the pair in hand. Alastair Whatley’s production scores on period detail at the expense of the emotions.”

Jane Edwards, The Sunday Times


“Two short plays, two lives half-lived: Sir Peter Shaffer’s 1962 double bill is elegantly melancholic. Directed by Alastair Whatley for a national tour the duo of dramas proves enduringly stimulating.”

http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/the-private-ear-yvonne-arnaud-t-9361

“Tightly written, funny and poignant played with considerable skill by the cast.”

The Farnham Herald


“Comedy with a surreptitious but significant bite.”

Sam Marlowe, The Times


“The conflict between dessicated order and Dionysiac passion lies at the heart of all Peter Shaffer’s mature plays. What is intriguing is to see the theme embryonically emerging in this 1962 double bill now being given a rare and well-cast revival by the Original Theatre Company.”

Michael Billington, The Guardian


“The ingenious set change is a coup de theatre.”

Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph


“Touring theatre companies often reach the parts of the country that others don’t – and sometimes they also reach the plays that others miss.”

Mark Shenton, The Stage


“Jasper Britton gives a masterclass in understated comic acting.”

The Sunday Express


Charles: Jasper Britton

Julian/Bob: Steven Blakeley

Ted: Rupert Hill

Belinda/Doreen: Siobhan O’Kelly

Ensemble: Charlie Hotson

Ensemble: Esther Shanson

Understudies: Charlie Hotson and Esther Shanson

Creative Team

Directed by: Alastair Whatley

Designed by: Hayley Grindle

Sound by: Dominic Bilkey

Lighting by: Tony Simpson

Movement by: Chrissie Cartwright

Associate Director: Charlotte Peters

Production shots: Jack Ladenburg

Crew

Production Manager: Nick May

CSM: Mike Powell Jones/Paul Bouchier

DSM: Lauren Barclay

TSM: Zachary Holton

Tour Blog

Find out more about The Private Ear And The Public Eye (2013) on the road.

Read Blog

Production Photos

See our theatre company in action!

Rehearsal Photos

A candid look behind the scenes…

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