The Song of Lunch

1st Aug 2018 - 27th Aug 2018

Forth - Pleasance Courtyard


Suitable for ages 12 and above


The Song of Lunch
Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey, Toast of London) and Rebecca Johnson (The Trip, The Flood) star in this hilarious and poignant drama of a disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love.

Set in a Soho Italian restaurant, Costa Award winner Christopher Reid's verse comedy is exquisitely intertwined with glorious animations by Charles Peattie (Alex cartoon, Daily Telegraph) in this bittersweet tragicomedy of love, loss and Chianti.

Directed by Jason Morell.

'Robert Bathurst is a class act and a master of nuance' (Herald).

'A beautiful comic actor' (Financial Times).


Robert Bathurst

Born West Africa • Lived in Ireland aged 3-9 • Convent school • Lied in First Confession aged 6 • Sent to satisfactorily brutal boarding school in County Meath • Aged 9 moved to England • Monastery school till 18 • Still dodgy in Confession • Aged 13 decided he wanted to be an actor • Didn’t own up to this until he was 25 • University at Cambridge • Footlights • Law School• A year in Noises Off (Savoy) • Big advertising contract to sell Guinness • Thought this acting game was easy • Then held a spear and said one line in St Joan (NT) thinking: “This acting game was not what it was a year ago” • Assorted theatre work including a two hour monologue on cannibalism and Dry Rot, a farce that should have been strangled at Bath • Joking Apart (BBC2) by Steven Moffat. • Chekhov’s Three Sisters with Kristin Scott-Thomas, • Some more telly including The Odd Thing and Loads Of Tosh  • more film and tv: Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie  • Downton Abbey •   Cold Feet • Toast Of London • the 7th series of Wild At Heart (ITV) after which the show was humanely put down • Co-staged Alex, Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor’s cartoon banker • Alex played in London, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Eastbourne and others • NHS - Who Cares? (Royal Court) • King Charles III  (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) •

Robert has been killed in the first episodes of: Hornblower and Red Dwarf • Bits of his body played by other people include: his private parts, by Kerry Shale in Joking Apart • and his nose by Phelim McDermott in Gogol’s The Nose adapted by Alastair Beaton, Nottingham Playhouse and Bucharest •


Rebecca Johnson

Theatre credits include:  The Real Thing, Present Laughter, This Happy Breed (Theatre Royal Bath); All Our Children (Jermyn Street Theatre); Twelfth Night  (Sheffield Theatres/ETT); Hedda (Palimpsest); A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Liverpool Playhouse/Rose Theatre Kingston); The Vortex (Rose Theatre Kingston); The Way of the World (Chichester Festival Theatre); Wendy and Peter Pan; The Dog in the Manger, Tamar's Revenge, The House of Desires, Pedro the Great Pretender (Royal Shakespeare Company); Coram Boy, Mourning Becomes Electra, Edmond, Peter Pan (National Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, What the Butler Saw (Sheffield Crucible); Barbarians (Salisbury Playhouse); As You Like It, Love's Labour's Lost, Troilus and Cressida, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regents Park); Mrs Warren's Profession (Royal Exchange Manchester); The Importance of Being Earnest (Chichester Festival Theatre/West End); The Front Page (Donmar Warehouse); Lady Windermere's Fan (Royal Exchange Manchester/West End); Double Indemnity, The Long Mirror, The Rose Tattoo, Jane Eyre, A Christmas Carol (Clwyd Theatre Cymru); Jane Eyre (West End); A Christmas Carol (Liverpool Playhouse).

Film credits include: The Flood, The Village in the Woods; Hedda; The Carrier; The Listener; Shackleton; Two Seconds to Midnight.

Television credits include: Anna Mann's Valentine; The Trip to Spain; Suspects; The Trip to Italy; Dark Matters; Holby City; The Trip; Five Daughters; Casualty 1909; Casualty 1907; Casualty 1906; Beau Brummell; Midsomer Murders; The Royal; Foyles War; Poirot – Evil Under the Sun; Gentlemen's Relish; Jonathan Creek; Just William; Frank Stubbs Promotes.

Radio credits include: Desperately Seeking Snowden; With Great Pleasure; Marriage à la Mode; The Maids; The Daughter of the Air; Smiles of a Summer Night; Neri; The Voyage Out


Jason Morell - Director

Jason trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

As a director his work includes The Cutting of the Cloth (RNT Studio), Berkoff's Women (Leicester Haymarket), Love, Loss and Chianti (Minerva Theatre, Chichester), Against Prejudice! (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), The Terrors of the Night (Wanamaker Theatre at Shakespeare's Globe), Love is Only Love (The Other Palace) and many productions for the Read not Dead seasons at Shakespeare's Globe. In 2014 he created and directed the 50 event festival week for London's celebration of Dylan Thomas's centenary,  Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia. His production of Against Prejudice! was part of Coventry's successful bid for City of Culture 2021.

As an actor he has performed with the RSC, Headlong, Cheek by Jowl and The Wrestling School. Along with many television appearances his films include BiddyDamage, Wilde, Mrs Brown and Affinity


Charles Peattie – Animation designs and drawing

St Martin's School of Art (Fine Art painting course) 1976-1980.

Was a portrait painter, greetings cards designer and freelance cartoonist for magazines such as Private Eye in the early 1980s.

Created the 'Dick' comic strip in Melody Maker with Mark Warren 1985-1987.

Since 1987 has been drawing and writing the Alex strip with Russell Taylor. It has run in three newspapers in the UK:  The London Daily News, The Independent and now The Daily Telegraph, as well as other papers worldwide.

Also since 1987 the Celeb strip (co-written with Mark Warren) in Private Eye.

Had a micro TV writing career with Mark Warren between 1997 and 2003 resulting in Passion Killers (1999) a one-off comedy drama about a honey trap agency starring Ben Miller, Celeb (2002) a BBC1 sitcom series based on their strip, starring Harry Enfield, and sketches for three seasons of Lenny Henry In Pieces 1998-2001.

In 2003 wrote the script which became Alex the stage play at the Arts Theatre in 2007. It starred Robert Bathurst and was directed by Phelim MacDermott.

2009 was making animated children's animated apps with Breakthru Films.

2014-15 created animated scenes for The Song Of Lunch at The Minerva Theatre in Chichester.

Recently he has been writing and illustrating a children's book and has just finished writing another comedy play called The Cartoon.


Christopher Reid - Author

Christopher Reid was born in Hong Kong in 1949. He was educated in England, at boarding schools, and graduated from Oxford University in 1971. Since then, periods of freelancing have alternated with jobs in journalism, publishing – he was poetry editor at Faber and Faber from 1991 to 1999 – and university teaching. His first book of poems, Arcadia (1979) won him a Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden Prize. It also brought him notice as co-founder, with Craig Raine, of the so-called 'Martian School' of poetry, which employed exotic and humorous metaphor to defamiliarise everyday experience. His third book, Katerina Brac (1985), takes this process further by presenting itself as a set of translations from the work of a fictitious East European poet. In 2009, Reid published two quite different books: A Scattering, a collection of elegies in memory of his wife, the actress Lucinda Gane; and The Song of Lunch, a darkly comic narrative. The first of these was declared Costa Book of the Year. More volumes have followed, the most recent being The Curiosities (2015).

His Old Toffer's Book of Consequential Dogs – a canine companion to T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats – will be unleashed later this year. He is currently working on an edition of the letters of Seamus Heaney.


Open/closeReviews and Quotations

'Robert Bathurst's flowing, commanding performance and Christopher Reid's elegiac poetry... charismatic... confident.'
4 stars
The List
'Bathurst’s lunchtime lament is a poetic delight'
5 stars
Daily Buisness Magazine
A beautifully written play, packed full of witty, comic observations… and guaranteed light-hearted laughs.
4 stars
Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
Fabulous tale of one-sided love in the afternoon
5 stars
The Times

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