Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Danton's Death
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Georg Büchner
Review by Robert F. Gross
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Danton's Death

by Georg Büchner, in a version by Howard Brenton

from a literal translation by Jane Fry

National Theatre

Olivier Theatre, 21 July 1982

See also

The action of the play takes place in the spring of 1794

Length: about 2 hours 50 minutes including one interval

Danton Deputy to the National Assembly, leader of the moderate Dantonists Brian Cox Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham (including As You Like It which transferred to the West End), Edinburgh Festival, Nottingham (as Brand), tour of England and India with Cambridge Theatre Company as Macbeth, Royal Exchange Manchester in Have You Anything to Declare? (which transferred to the Roundhouse). Royal Court: In Celebration, Hedda Gabler, Cromwell; Queen's: Getting On; Riverside: The Changeling. NT: Julius Caesar, Tamburlaine The Great, Emigres. TV includes: The Master of Ballantrae, The Changeling, The Devil's Crown, Out, Dalhousie's Luck, Bothwell, Therese Raquin. Films include: In Celebration, Nicholas and Alexandra, The Privilege.
Julie his wife Elizabeth Bell Theatre includes repertory at Scarborough, Stoke, Birmingham, Liverpool, Guildford, Harrogate. At the Royal Court: August for the People, Soldier's Fortune, The Dragon, Marya, Uncle Vanya, Inadmissible Evidence. European tour of The Daughter-in-Law. West End includes: Hotel in Amsterdam, Beset by Women. TV includes: A Gift from Nessus (Play for Today), Trouble with Gregory, Some of My Best Friends, Hedda Gabler. Many radio broadcasts — both plays and poetry readings.
Ladies Clare Clifford Theatre includes repertory at Bristol Old Vic, Oxford Playhouse, Cheltenham Everyman, Pitlochry Festival; tours of Absent Friends, Ten Times Table. In London: The Rocky Horror Show. TV includes: Angels, Within These Walls, Country Dance, Lillie, Something in Disguise, The Olympian Way, Dr Who, Holding the Fort. Films: The Daughter in Law, Escape from the Dark, The Magic Shop, Bernard Fripp.
Patricia Franklin Theatre: repertory at Sheffield (The Promise, The Ruling Class, Black Comedy, Bed Sitting Room, Teasdales Follies). In London: Uproar in the House (Whitehall), Edward Bond season at Royal Court. TV includes: Holding On, Seven Faces of Woman, Joe's Ark, The Sweeney, General Hospital, Kids. Films: Six Carry On films, Bless This House, Brief Encounter.
Julia Watson
Hérault-Sechelles Deputy of the National Assembly, friend of Danton Robert Swann Theatre includes in London: Rafferty's Chant, Forty Years On, My Little Boy My Big Girl, Gone with the Wind, Very Good Eddie, His Monkey Wife, An Ideal Husband. NT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing, The Prince of Homburg. TV includes: Upstairs Downstairs, The Sweeney, Minder, Fallen Hero, Anna Karenina, Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility. Film: If.
Camille Desmoulins Deputy of the National Assembly, friend of Danton, and of Robespierre, journalist opposed to policy of Committee of Public Safety Anthony Higgins Theatre includes repertory at Birmingham, Traverse Edinburgh, Crucible Sheffield. Chichester: Director of the Opera; Theatre Upstairs: Captain Jack's Revenge; RSC: The Taming of the Shrew, Piaf, Captain Swing, The Innocent, Men's Beano. ICA: Safe Houses. TV includes: Mary Stuart, Blood of the Lamb, Roads to Freedom, Hadleigh, Rob Roy, The Eagle of the Ninth, Danton's Death (as Camille), The Sandbaggers, Last Night Another Dissident, Love in a Cold Climate, Aliens. Films include: A Walk With Love and Death, The Voyage, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Quartet, The Draughtsman's Contract, Black Flowers for the Bride.
Philippeau Deputy of the National Assembly, advocating moderate policy in opposition to the Committee of Public Safety Tom Georgeson Theatre includes repertory at Theatre Royal York, Liverpool Playhouse, Watford Playhouse, Bristol Old Vic. National tours of Gigi and Hobson's Choice. London: Going Home, An Evening With Mrs Da Tanka (King's Head), Mad Dog (Hampstead), Rose (Duke of York's). RSC: Henry V, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well. NT: The Merchant of Venice, Woman Killed by Kindness, Danton's Death, Rules of the Game. TV includes: All's Well That Ends Well, Shabby Tiger, Death or Glory, Kim, Rocky O'Rourke, Peppermint Pig, The Afterdinner Joke, The Black Stuff, Going Back, Boy With a Transistor Radio, Country Party, Boys From the Black Stuff.
Simon A theatre prompter Ron Pember Theatre in London includes appearing in 30 plays at the Mermaid and directing 18 others. NT includes: Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Royal Hunt of the Sun, Uncle Vanya (Old Vic), A Month in the Country, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, Don Juan (South Bank). RSC: Twelfth Night. West End includes: Lock Up Your Daughters, Blitz. Over 200 TV appearances. Films include: Young Winston, Land That Time Forgot, Oh What a Lovely War, Julius Caesar, Poor Cow, Aces High.
Simon's Wife Susan Porrett Theatre includes at the Royal Court: Mother's Day, The London Cuckolds. Greenwich: An Ideal Husband. NT: Much Ado About Nothing, Don Juan, The Prince of Homburg. TV: Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, Malice Aforethought, Grange Hill. Films: One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, Full Circle, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End.
First Citizen Peter Sproule Theatre includes in London: long association with the Royal Court, including Edward Bond season; May Fair Theatre: Flashpoint; Riverside: Julius Caesar, Mother Country. NT: Romans in Britain, Month in the Country, Don Juan, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, Much Ado About Nothing, Prince of Homburg. TV includes: Blue Skies from Now On, The Naked Civil Servant, Billy. Films: Land That Time Forgot, The Mouse and the Woman, If.
Second Citizen Anthony Trent Theatre includes repertory at Welsh National Theatre, Crucible Sheffield, Lyceum and Traverse Edinburgh, Theatre Royal Bath, Citizens' Glasgow. London: Duchess of Malfi, Clowns (Royal Court), Someone is Still Someone, Moby Dick (Bush), The Great Caper (ICA); tours of Future Perfect and Real Time. TV: The Whip Hand. Films: Yesterday's Hero, McVicar, Babylon, His Majesty's Sergeant.
Citizens Derek Carpenter Theatre: repertory at Leicester, Coventry. Royal Court: Life Price, Lear. NT: Ticket of Leave Man. Film for Children's Film Foundation. Has worked as clown, in Punch and Judy, and in circus with Brassy Searle's Horse Spectacular.
Anthony Douse Theatre includes work at Nottingham, Leatherhead, Edinburgh. Royal Court: A Collier's Friday Night, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Lear. ICA: Stone. NT: State of Revolution, Brand, Macbeth, The Woman, Strife, The Fruits of Enlightenment, As You Like It, Richard III. TV includes: The Life Swappers, Dickens of London, The Wood Demon, Atrocity. Films include: The Duellists.
George Winter Theatre: repertory at Derby, Nottingham. Westcliff. NT: The Prince of Homburg TV: Henry IV Part One, Going to Work, If Only, Barriers, Jackanory Playhouse. Films: Peter Rhodes, Scum, All Quiet on the Western Front.
Young Man Colin Haigh Theatre: work at Glasgow Citizens and at King's Head, NT: The Oresteia. TV: It Ain't 'Alf Hot Mum, Billy Liar, Sovereign's Company Films: Butley, Los Valientes. Radio: Stop Me If You've Heard It Before.
Robespierre Deputy of the National Assembly, leader of the Jacobin Government and of the Committee of Public Safety, under criticism by the Dantonists John Normington Theatre includes Twelfth Night, Revenge, The Fool, Taking Stock (Royal Court), The Happy Apple (Apollo). German Skerries (Bush), Rooting (Traverse). For the RSC: The Wars of the Roses (1963, 64, 66), Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, Puntila, The Investigation, The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, The Homecoming. NT: State of Revolution, The Lady from Maxim's, As You Like It, Richard III, Amadeus, The Romans m Britain, Hiawatha, The Shoemakers' Holiday, The Oresteia, Guys and Dolls. Films: A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Medusa Touch, Rollerball, The Thirty-nine Steps, The Reckoning, Inadmissible Evidence, Stardust. Recent TV: The Life of Shakespeare, Song of Songs, The Birds Fall Down, and the series Spy. Directed Snapshots for the Traverse Theatre (1980 Edinburgh Festival).
Sans-culottes Patricia Franklin
Paul Bentall Theatre includes in London: Laughter, The Bukharin Play (Royal Court), Julius Caesar (Riverside). NT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, Much Ado About Nothing, Caritas, The Prince of Homburg. TV: As You Like It, The Borgias. Film: Flash Gordon.
Anthony Head Theatre includes: Julius Caesar (Riverside); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Young Vic); national tour of Godspell (later also in the West End). Repertory at Everyman Cheltenham, Nottingham Playhouse. TV includes: Enemy at the Door, Lillie, Accident, The Mallens, Love in a Cold Climate, The Grudge Fight, Eden End. Film: Lady Chatterley's Lover.
Citizen from Lyons Peter Dineen Theatre includes work at Lincoln, Torch Theatre Milford Haven (founder member), Donovan Maule Theatre Nairobi; tour of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. NT: Hiawatha, Don Quixote.
President of the Jacobin Club Ralph Nossek Theatre includes: Comedians first at Nottingham Playhouse, then NT at the Old Vic and Wyndhams (later on TV); Flowers for Algernon (Queens). NT: Prince of Homburg. Recent TV includes: Brideshead Revisited, Collision Course, Prince Regent, Telford's Change, Poldark, The Sweeney, We The Accused, The Borgias. Films include: Orders to Kill, Guns of Darkness, Fraulein Doktor, Alfred the Great, Performance.
Legendre Deputy of the National Assembly, friend of Danton Philip York Theatre includes British Council tours of Far East and Middle East; Malvern Festival as Macbeth. In London: Snowdroppers (Hampstead), An Empty Desk (Theatre Upstairs), Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, War Music (Prospect at Old Vic). RSC: Afore Night Come, Twelfth Night, Macbeth. NT: The Prince of Homburg. TV includes: The Crezz, Turtle's Progress, Moody and Peg, Quiet Days of Mrs Stafford, Lillie, Ladykillers, The Professionals. Films: Hennessy, Die Toke Stadt, Richard's Things.
Collot d'Herbois Deputy of the National Assembly, member of the Committee of Public Safety under criticism by the Dantonists Robert Hamilton Theatre includes in London: Crete and Sergeant Pepper, Marie and Bruce (Royal Court), Fat Harold (New End), Rashomon (Stratford East), Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Mad World My Masters, Epsom Downs, Fanshen (Joint Stock), All Along the Watchtowers (ICA), Measure for Measure (Riverside), Tom Fool (Half Moon), Plugged into History (7:84). NT: The Crucible (in the West End), Much Ado About Nothing. TV includes: Plugged into History, The Roses of Eyam, Murder Must Advertise, Stronger than the Sun, One of these Nights, Light, Autumn Sunshine, Kinvig, The White Guard. Films: Porridge, Long Good Friday.
Lacroix Deputy of the National Assembly, friend and associate of Danton Paul Moriarty Theatre includes repertory at Belgrade Coventry, Octagon Bolton, Theatre 69 Manchester, Liverpool, Library Manchester, Bristol Old Vic, Mercury Colchester. At the Royal Court: The Contractor (also West End), Elizabeth I (Theatre Upstairs). RSC: Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Dingo, Troilus and Cressida, Bingo, Schweyk in the Second World War, Antony and Cleopatra, Captain Swing. TV includes: Seven Days in the Life of Andrew Pelham, Coronation Street, Holly, Bedtime Stories, Russian Roulette, The M5 Bridge Show, The Sweeney, The Gentle Touch, Minder, Troilus and Cressida.
Marion Frances Viner Theatre includes repertory at York Theatre Royal, Belgrade Coventry, Gateway Chester, Northcott Exeter. Chichester: Cyrano, An Enemy of the People. Regent's Park: Two Noble Kinsmen. RSC: two seasons. In London: Roots (Shaw), Hindle Wakes (Greenwich), co-writing and performing in Raving Beauties In The Pink (Riverside and NT).
Rosalie Clare Clifford
Saint-Just Deputy of the National Assembly, with Robespierre a leader of the Committee of Public Safety under criticism by the Dantonists Patrick Drury Theatre includes in London: Events in an Upper Room (ICA), Dear Daddy (Ambassadors), Pinch Me Not (Greenwich), The Irish Hebrew Lesson (Almost Free & NT Platform), Flying Blind, The Key Tag (Royal Court), Measure for Measure (Riverside), James Joyce and Co (King's Head). NT: Don Juan, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance, Much Ado About Nothing, Caritas, The Prince of Homburg.
Danton's servant George Winter
Ballad singer Paul Bentall
Beggar Derek Carpenter
First Gentleman Ralph Nossek
Second Gentleman Anthony Douse
Soldiers Philip York
Paul Ridley Theatre includes repertory at Bristol Old Vic, Leicester, Stoke on Trent, Manchester and Belfast; African tour of The Merchant of Venice; Much Ado About Nothing and Old Heads and Young Hearts (Chichester); King Lear, (Prospect at the Old Vic). TV includes: Angels, Knife Edge, Nelson, Sergeant Cribb, Enemy at the Door, Voyage of Charles Darwin, Hazell, Victorian Scandals, Hard Times, Softly Softly, Crown Court, XYY Man, Sandbaggers, Blake's Seven. Film: Prostitute.
Young Gentleman Anthony Head
Eugenie's Mother Susan Porrett
Eugenie Julia Watson Theatre includes: founder member of Bruvvers, community theatre in Newcastle; repertory includes Nottingham, Plymouth, Basingstoke, Watermill Newbury, Crucible Sheffield, Thorndyke Leatherhead. TV includes: The Way Up to Heaven, Shoestring, Company and Co, Maybury, Never the Twain.
Lucille Camille Desmoulins' wife Caroline Langrishe Theatre includes in London: The Cherry Orchard (Riverside), A Portrait of Dora (New End). NT: A Month in the Country, Don Juan, Much Ado About Nothing. TV: Anna Karenina, Just William, Queen Victoria's Scandals, Wuthering Heights, Seconds Out, Tales of the Unexpected, The Flipside of Dominick Hyde, QED, Number Ten, Another Flip for Dominick. Films: Holocaust 2000, Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, Eagle's Wing, Les Miserables, Death Watch, Possessions, Hammer House of Horror.
President of the National Assembly Ralph Nossek
Mercier Moderate Deputy of the National Assembly, sympathiser with the executed Girondins, in prison Anthony Douse
Chaumette Procurator of the Parts Commune, extremist sympathiser with the executed Hébertists, in prison Paul Ridley
Thomas Paine moderate English Deputy in the National Assembly, in prison Ron Pember
Prisoners Derek Carpenter
Anthony Trent
George Winter
Fouquier-Tinville Public Prosecuter in charge of the case against Dantonists on behalf of the Committee of Public Safety Ralph Nossek
Hermann President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, the Revolutionary Court trying the Dantonists Paul Bentall
Dillon English General serving with the French army and diplomat whose conduct is under review by the Revolutionary Tribunal, in prison Nicholas Selby Theatre includes Royal Court: The Dumb Waiter, The Happy Haven, Platonov, That's Us, West of Suez, The Fool, Captain Oates' Left Sock (Theatre Upstairs). RSC: The Tempest, Julius Caesar, The Wars of the Roses, Eh?, The Comedy of Errors, Henry IV, Henry V, The Meteor, The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, Coriolanus, The Revenger's Tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, All's Well That Ends Well, The Winter's Tale, Henry VIII, The Plebians, The Bewitched, Sherlock Holmes (also in NY). Open Space: The Houseboy, Anatol. NT: Tamburlaine The Great, Troilus and Cressida, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Volpone, The Country Wife, Brand, Double Dealer, Strife, The Fruits of Enlightenment, As You Like It, Amadeus, Othello, Galileo, The Shoemakers' Holiday, Mayor of Zalamea, Hypochondriac, Prince of Homburg. Films include: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth. Over 100 TV appearances.
La Flotte Major in the French army and diplomat whose conduct is under review by the Revolutionary Tribunal, in prison Anthony Head
Gaoler Anthony Douse
Barère Member of the Committee of Public Safety which ordered the arrest of the Dantonists Peter Sproule
Billaud-Varennes Member of the Committee of Public Safety which ordered the arrest of the Dantonists Tom Marshall Theatre: repertory at Lincoln, Canterbury, Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Watford, Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham. In London: Edward Bond season (Royal Court), Mandrake (Criterion), Snap (Vaudeville), Passion of Dracula (Queens), work at Hampstead Theatre, New End, Theatre Upstairs, ICA, Bush, Young Vic. NT: All Good Men, Tomalin Reporting (ICA). TV: Crimes of Passion, Upstairs Downstairs, Please Sir, Thin End of the Wedge, Churchill's People, World's End. Films: Oh What a Lovely War, Girl in My Soup, Revenge, Killer's Moon.
Amar Assistant to the Public Prosecuter Colin Haigh
Volland Assistant to the Public Prosecuter George Winter
Clerks to the Committee of Public Safety Derek Carpenter
George Winter
First Executioner Peter Dineen
Second Executioner Tom Marshall
Citizens, Deputies, Jacobins, Sans-culottes, Servants, Prisoners, Soldiers The Company
Director Peter Gill
Designer Alison Chitty
Music Dominic Muldowney
Lighting Stephen Wentworth
Staff Director John Burgess
Production Manager Michael Cass Jones
Stage Manager John Rothenberg
Deputy Stage Manager Angela Bissett
Assistant Stage Managers Catherine Bird
Emma Lloyd
Michael Roberts
Neville Ware
Sound Gaby Haynes
Assistant to the Designer Paul Ghirardani
Assistant to the Lighting Designer Mathew Lloyd
Assistant Production Manager Mark Taylor
Production credits Set built and painted in NT workshops. Hydraulic floor by Mike Barnett. Props and furniture built and painted in NT workshops. Wardrobe care by Lever Brothers.
Production photographed by Nobby Clark

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Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2011

Last modified: 2011-05-31

Home | Up | Provincial Life | Breath of Life | The Aliens | Hens | Another Door Closed | Semper Dowland / Corridor | Small Change | Importance of Being Earnest | Gaslight | Look Back in Anger | The Voysey Inheritance | Epitaph for George Dillon | Days of Wine and Roses | Romeo and Juliet | Scenes from the Big Picture | Peter Gill Festival | York Realist | Radio plays | Luther | Speed-the-Plow | The Seagull | Friendly Fire | Certain Young Men | Mrs Klein | Tongue of a Bird | Cardiff East | A Patriot for Me | Uncle Vanya | New England | Way of the World | Juno and the Paycock | Marriage of Figaro | Harrison Birtwistle | Mean Tears | New Plays | Fool for Love, Lyric | Fool for Love | Antigone | Venice Preserv'd | Tales from Hollywood | Small Change (1983) | Kick for Touch | Major Barbara | Danton's Death | Much Ado (1981) | Don Juan | Month in Country | Scrape off the Black | Julius Caesar | Measure for Measure | Changeling | Cherry Orchard | Small Change (1976) | The Fool | As You Like It | Fishing | Twelfth Night | Merry-Go-Round | Schwieger Tochter | Crete and Sgt Pepper | Duchess of Malfi | Macbeth | Hedda Gabler | Landscape, Silence | Sleepers' Den (1969) | Over Gardens Out | Much Ado (1969) | Life Price | Daughter-in-Law tour | Lawrence season | O'Flaherty VC | Crimes of Passion | Daughter-in-Law (1967) | The Soldier's Fortune | A Provincial Life | O'Flaherty VC | Ruffian on the Stair | Local Stigmatic | Traverse | Albert Cobb | Collier's Friday Night | Sleepers' Den (1965)

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.  Copyright © 1999-2012

Last modified: 2012-03-15