Prior to its run in London’s West End, a new production of Pat Barker’s Booker-nominated First World War novel Regeneration comes to York, as Alice Lavelle reports
Published in 1991, the first of a trilogy of the same name, Regeneration deals with the mental trauma of being on the frontline of the Great War.
The story is set at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh in 1917. Dr William Rivers is tasked with returning shell-shocked officers to the trenches.
But two of his patients, soldiers and poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, make him question the morality of what he is doing.
Some of the characters are based on real people – like Sassoon and Owen – but others like Richard Prior and his girlfriend Sarah Lumb are purely fictional.
This production, by Touring Consortium Theatre Company, sees a cast of eight bring this epic tale to life in the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Adapted by the Olivier Award-winning dramatist Nicholas Wright, Regeneration spends a week at York Theatre Royal.
Among the cast are Christopher Brandon as Robert Graves, Stephen Boxer as Doctor Rivers, Tim Delap as Siegfried Sassoon, Jack Monaghan as Billy Prior and Garmon Rhys as Wilfred Owen.
“As the reviews from the premiere have told us, Regeneration is not just another World War One play,” said York Theatre Royal’s chief executive Liz Wilson.
“The messages in it our very current, and whilst the topic is serious this is also a moving and witty piece of theatre – with a very big jump and gasp moment in it as well.
“We’re very proud to be one of the first theatre’s to host this new adaptation.”
Pat Barker has said about the production “I think the script is fantastic, very intelligently and sensitively handled”.