“And your bright Promise, withered long and sped,
Is touched, stirs, rises, opens and grows sweet
And blossoms and is you, when you are dead.”
The world premiere
Following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at The Finborough Theatre in 2016 where it was nominated for seven OffWestEnd Awards including Best New Play, and its Olivier nominated run at the Trafalgar Studios, and a Scottish tour, the world premiere production of It Is Easy To Be Dead becomes the first Finborough Theatre production to be made available for free viewing online through the Society of London Theatre’s Official London Theatre YouTube channel.
Available to watch here, until Tuesday, 7 July 2020.
Subsequently transferred to Trafalgar Studios from 9 November-3 December 2016 and for a Scottish tour of the Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen, and Oran Mor, Glasgow, in November 2018
★★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★★ Broadway World
★★★★★ London Pub Theatres
★★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★★ Carn’s Theatre Passion
★★★★★ North West End
★★★★ and Pick of The Week, The Sunday Times
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Herald
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ The Jewish Chronicle
★★★★ Musical Theatre Review
★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★ Ginger Wig and Strolling Man
Nominated for an Olivier Award
Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
Nominated for a MyTheatreAward
Best Original Work
Nominated for 7 OffWestEnd Awards
Best Male Performance
Best Male Performance in a Supporting Role
Best New Play
Best Lighting Designer
Best Sound Designer
Best Set Designer
Nominated for four Broadway World UK Awards
Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical
Best Direction of a New Production of a Play
Best New London Fringe Production
Best New Play
Commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the world premiere of It Is Easy To Be Dead by award-winning playwright Neil McPherson.
Born in Aberdeen, Charles Sorley was studying in Germany when the First World War broke out and was briefly imprisoned as an enemy alien. He was one of the first to join the army in 1914.
Killed in action a year later at the age of 20, his poems are among the most ambivalent , profound and moving war poetry ever written.
It Is Easy To Be Dead tells the story of Sorley’s brief life through his work and music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period including George Butterworth, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, Rudi Stephan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Unique among the poets of the First World War, Sorley’s life and work fits chronologically into the patriotic idealism of such writers as Julian Grenfell and Rupert Brooke (whom Sorley criticised for his “sentimental attitude”). Perhaps because of his time in Germany before the war, Sorley perceived the truth of the war long before his fellow writers, and anticipated the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon.
The cast includes Jenny Lee (West End, Royal Court Theatre, The Young Vic, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Tom Marshall (National Theatre, West End, Royal Court Theatre, Menier Chocolate Factory) and two new discoveries – actor Alexander Knox as Charles Sorley, and acclaimed young tenor Hugh Benson.