a play with music
written and directed by Tony Britten
produced by Music Theatre London
Vienna, 1937. Germany is poised to annex Austria, social democracy has been all but obliterated and the country is lurching ever further to the right.
In the tiny ABC Theatre, the most politically noisy of the Kleinkunstbühnen – the “little theatres” of Vienna – a young communist Jewish playwright, Jura Soyfer, is a rising star. But he is increasingly in danger for lampooning the establishment with his blackly comedic plays such as Astoria, which brilliantly skewers the populism that shatters so many dreams.
Using material from Soyfer’s original, this new Astoria tells the story of a group of actors and writers who take huge risks to make theatre that entertains, engages and asks big questions. Come and join us at the ABC and meet them and their friend Jura, this extraordinary young man whose work resonates as loudly now as it did then.
Jura Soyfer. It’s not difficult to imagine the richness of writing that would have come from Jura Soyfer, had he not died in Buchenwald of typhoid in February 1939. ‘Astoria’ celebrates the wit, passion and prescience of this brilliant young man whose charisma shines down the years and whose legacy is still celebrated in Austria, Germany and across the world. Now it’s time for the UK to join that celebration.
Press for this production
‘‘Thoughtful and entertaining in equal measure, this isn’t yet another World War Two saga, but a gritty and remarkably relevant story for our times.’ ★★★★ London Theatre 1
“Britten’s direction of his actors is expert and the performances are excellent. His ensemble of young actors are surely destined for major productions in the future, and justify this production’s four stars. Kate Bannister and Karl Swinyard from the Jack Studio must also be commended for supporting this production… we should be overjoyed to find such a gem in a pub theatre in South East London.” ★★★★ Musical Theatre Review
‘funny and moving… this show is radical and different and deserves to be seen by anyone who believes that theatre has a role to play in 21st century politics.’ Broadway World
‘a deeply felt play… a brave piece… a life worth learning about.’ Reviewsgate
‘Astoria is a window into a fascinating moment of history… A tantalising introduction to the work of playwright Jura Sofyer and Vienna’s ABC of the 1930s’ London Pub Theatres
Written and directed by Tony Britten
Original play by Jura Soyfer, translated by Horst Jarka
Music by Jimmy Berg, Tony Britten, Herbert Zipper
Lyrics by Jura Soyfer, translated by Tony Britten
Set Designer Sorcha Corcoran
Costume Designer Alice Carroll
Lighting Designer Stuart Glover
Sound Designer Alex Turner
Produced by Music Theatre London
Olivia Benjamin, Benjamin Chandler, Taylor Danson, Sam Denia, Joshua Ginsberg