|Barrie Rutter in the lead role of industrialist and tyrannical patriarch, John Rutherford|
Northern Broadsides return to The Dukes in February with a play directed by Jonathan Miller and featuring a former Coronation Street favourite.
Rutherford & Son, an unflinching portrayal of an industrial family on the brink of collapse, sees Jonathan Miller returning to direct a British theatre stage production for the first time in six years.
Northern Broadsides own artistic director - Barrie Rutter - takes the lead role of industrialist and tyrannical patriarch, John Rutherford, and also among the cast is Wendi Peters, best known for her role as Cilla Battersby Brown in Coronation Street.
“It's a lovely cameo,” said Wendi. “Mrs Henderson is the mother of the young lady in the glass factory who is accused of stealing. A little bit of Dutch courage is what she needs to knock on industrialist Rutherford's door. She's slightly tipsy, a little the worse for drink and has a go at Rutherford. It's really good one-to-one with him.”
The text of the play has been edited by Blake Morrison who wrote We Are Three Sisters which played to packed houses at The Dukes in 2011.
Ranked by the National Theatre as one of the Top One Hundred Plays of the Century, Rutherford & Son has class, capitalism and gender at its heart.
Set in early 1912, it tells the story of iron-fisted John Rutherford as he battles the scheming rebellion of his younger son and his daughter’s scandalous love-affair, while fighting to prevent the legacy of the family glassworks from shattering. Tackling timeless issues of family dynamics both at home and in business, this remarkable drama is as relevant today as it was when it was first performed.
The success of the family-owned glassworks, Rutherford & Son, takes precedence over everything - even happiness - and in a household run on fear, cracks begin to appear and the emotional pitch builds up like a pressure cooker.
As Rutherford's absolute authority is challenged, a catastrophic family mutiny begins to unfold, threatening to destroy his world and his factory.
“As soon as I read Rutherford & Son I was attracted to its straight forward dramatic simplicity and the fact that it seemed unexpectedly relevant to the current difficulties that businesses of this sort are undergoing," said Jonathan Miller. "I suspect that the audience will be drawn to the play by the fact that it represents circumstances with which they can undeniably sympathise with.”
Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Its most recent production at The Dukes was The Government Inspector last autumn.
• Rutherford & Son runs from 19th - 23rd February and there will be a post show talk-back with Barrie Rutter and the cast following the first night performance. To book tickets priced £8-£18.50(concessions a further £2 off, excluding matinees), ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org