Theatre: The Be All and End All

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York Theatre Royal from Friday May 4 to Saturday May 17

Would you cheat? Would you lie? Would you betray your wife’s trust? Would you do absolutely anything to safeguard your son’s future?

The Be All and End All is a contemporary drama by award-winning writer Jonathan Lewis that shows a politician’s family in crisis after he makes a life-changing decision to ensure his troubled 18-year-old son has the best possible start in life.

When his secrets and lies are exposed the result is an emotionally raw drama of a family split apart by the abuse of power and hunger for success.

The play has its world premiere at York Theatre Royal from May 4 to May 19 before touring to Colchester Mercury Theatre and Windsor Theatre Royal.

Imogen Stubbs stars in the production, directed by York Theatre Royal artistic director Damian Cruden.

Her recent stage appearances include Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know To Be True, Alphabetical Order and Strangers on a Train.

Her other stage work includes Othello and The Rover and Two Noble Kinsmen (RSC).

The writer Jonathan Lewis appears as the politician who oversteps the mark in his quest to ensure his son has the best possible start in life.

Matt Whitchurch, last seen at York Theatre Royal as Mr Darcy in Sara Pascoe’s version of Pride and Prejudice, plays the son Tom with Robyn Cara completes the cast as his girlfriend Frida.

Lewis’ play Our Boys won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best New Fringe play and had a highly successful return to the West End in 2012.

Most recently he wrote and directed Soldier On, featuring a company of actors and ex soldiers.

As an actor, he has had recurring roles in Soldier Soldier, Coronation Street and London’s Burning.

His theatre credits include the one man show I Found My Horn, A View From the Bridge and A Few Good Men.

Jonathan Lewis said: “The idea for the play evolved from a conversation with my son after he did his GCSEs.

“I hadn’t quite understood the pressure schoolkids are under.

“As I started to talk to him about it I realised it was not just him I was interested in but how that affected me and my relationship with my ex-wife and the teacher – and the pressure on them all.

“One of the themes is the education system’s obsession with exams and grades. If you try and put numbers around everything you are not telling the whole story. The education system has been turned into a business and just testing children about what they know.”

Imogen Stubbs adds: “We both feel very strongly about the potential damage done by homogenising education that at its worst becomes battery farming, rather than organic.

“I don’t remember exams dominating my life the way they dominate children’s lives now.”

The Be All and End All is one of three plays Lewis has written in his Education, Education, Education trilogy.

The first, A Level Playing Field was staged at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre in 2015 with a cast of school leavers.

The third play looks at the situation from a teacher’s viewpoint.

Tickets: 01904 623568