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in Northampton since 1932

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Vincent in Brixton
by Nicholas Wright

Cast & Crew

Ursula Loyer Bernadette Wood
Vincent van Gogh
Scott Bradley
Eugenie Loyer
Serena Charters
Sam Plowman
Ben Richardson
Anna van Gogh
Lynette Ashton

Director Barry L. Hillman
Stage Manager
Suzanne Richards
Mark Mortimer, Derek Banyard
Continuity Ingrid Heymann
Clare Brittain, Pamela Mann
Lighting & Sound
Ian Clarke
Robert Vaughan
Publicity & Photography
Ian Clarke
Programme Design
Martin Borley-Cox
Front of House
Patricia Coleman, Masque Theatre members

Scott Bradley as Vincent van Gogh and Bernadette Wood as Ursula Loyer Photo by Ian Clarke

Production No. 378

More images from The Vincent in Brixton


Barry Hillman, director

“And did those feet, in Ancient Times, walk upon England’s mountains green?”  Well, yes they did, actually - that is, if you’re talking about the artist van Gogh, even though most people I mention it to still regard it as apocryphal.  And just to prove I’m right, they’ve even stuck a blue plaque on the premises in London where he lived - 87, Hackford Road.  Go and take a look!

At 16, Vincent had joined a firm of art dealers but had no ambitions to become an artist himself.  At 20 he was transferred to the London branch at a salary of £90 p.a. - good for the times.  He was smart, healthy and had a young man’s lusty interest in pretty girls.  He also needed somewhere to live.  Fortuitously, following an attractive female he fancied, he discovered that she actually lived in her mother’s boarding house and lost no time in installing himself there - chuffed that he had thus killed two birds with one stone!

Unfortunately, the girl turned out to be already romantically involved.  But hey! Her mother wasn’t bad looking either!

Even if you know nothing about famous artists and couldn’t care less about paintings, you’ll love this perceptively written play by Nicholas Wright.  It’s basically a double love story wherein a young man not only discovers the sexual passions but an even deeper love for Art; both will lead to heart-ache.  But that is yet to come...

We witness the three faces of Vincent in our volatile actor Scott Bradley (last seen in Great Expectations).

Bernie Wood, currently having her talents recognised and developed in several groups, plays the mother whose burning desire is to encourage the potential in those she mentors and so become their ‘Muse’.  Newcomer Serena Charters plays (in our case) the very pretty daughter!  Ben Richardson plays her love interest, something of an artist himself in the Morris style.  And Lynette Ashton plays Vincent’s pesky sister who turns up to remind him of his ‘religious duties’.

The talented director is me whose last invitations to direct for the group were in 1996 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and 2004 (Mrs Warren’s Profession).  So catch this fine play before I pop my (Dutch?) clogs before being asked again, and enjoy a bit of Masque Class at its best!

5 - 9 April 2011 at 7.30pm
The Playhouse Theatre, Clare Street, Northampton

Page last updated: 28/02/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

A scene from Vincent in Brixton

by Richard Jordan

Vincent in Brixton marked the return of Barry Hillman to the Masque directing chair for the first time since 2004, and it proved to be well worth the wait! Nicholas Wright's script was one Barry had tried to put on on several occasions but each time for a variety of reasons it hadn't happened, until now.

The play, which was first performed in 2003 at The National Theatre, tells the story of the three years in Vincent Van Gogh's early life he spent in London, when he meets and falls in love with an English widow.

Scott Bradley took on the titular role with gusto, at this stage in his life Van Gogh is working for an international firm of art-dealers. Thanks to Scott's clever and heart-felt portrayal, we witnessed the tortured soul whose life would eventually become blighted by mental illness. But at this stage, Vincent is happy to dig the garden and peel the spuds but his love of art is shown with his scathing remarks about the abilities of his fellow lodger.

Bernie Wood, as his lover, brought a wonderful quiet dignity to the role of Mrs Loyer, a woman still mourning the loss of her husband some 15 years after his death, and finally finds some moments of happiness with Vincent. The changes this brings to her life were evident in the following scene where she finally abandons her black uniform of mourning.

Playing the role of Vincent's fellow lodger and painter (of walls and ceilings!) was Ben Richardson, with Masque debutant Serena Charters taking on the part of his lover (and daughter of the landlady) Eugenie Loyer, with Lynette Ashton completing the cast as Vincent's sister Anna. All gave delightful performances and combined with Derek Banyard and Mark Mortimer's excellent set, Clare Brittain and Pamela Mann's costumers and Suzanne Richards's excellent stage dressing, gave Masque audiences a thoroughly enjoyable night out.

The only minus point was the disappointingly small audience during the early part of the run, but all those who saw the play came away having been moved and entertained in equal measure.

So Barry, thanks for your persistence, and thank you for directing the play for Masque.