The English Theatre Of Hamburg


March 2010

Dear Friends of The English Theatre of Hamburg

You are receiving this newsletter earlier than usual because we want to remind you that THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Frank D. Gilroy closes on 17 April, only six weeks from now. Please do not wait until the end of the run to see this play unless you have already booked your seats. Quite often there are no seats available in the final two weeks.

With best regards,

The Directors: Clifford Dean and Robert Rumpf

This issue


What's next?

The Directors will soon be in London to cast actors for the thriller DEADLY GAME by David Foley. Scripts are not available because this is a new play that will not be published until April. However, our Teaching Material provides you with a detailed summary of the plot which will help those of you who are not 100% fluent in English. You can download the Teaching Material from the website ( Just click on the Teaching Material button on the first page of the site.

Photo Gallery

Below are several photos taken from scenes of THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by our long-time photographer, Hans-Jürgen Kock.

Timmy and John dance

Nettie (Janet Greaves) and her husband John (Craig Pinder) are so happy that their son Timmy (Nick Rhys) has returned from the war without any injuries that they go out on the town to celebrate. The men drink a little too much and do a song and dance routine for Nettie when they return.

Timmy and his mother roling on the floor laughing

Timmy promised to celebrate his return by dancing around the living room with his mother. They get so dizzy dancing the polka that they fall down laughing.

Nettie receices flowers

Nettie and John have been having marital problems for years. When she receives flowers thought to be from her husband, she is touched and hopeful that their relationship may still have a chance. Her hopes are dashed when John tells her during an argument that Timmy bought the flowers and told his father to say they were from him.

John scolds Timmy

John forgets from time to time that during the three years Timmy was away at war he developed from a boy into a man with his own ideas about how to live his life. Occasionally John scolds him and reminds him that his father is the boss in his home.

Timmy talks to his parents

Timmy realizes that it would be impossible for him to be independent and lead his own life as long as he stays at home with his parents. He announces that he is going to leave. They are upset by Timmy’s decision at first, but come to realize that he has made the right decision. Timmy let’s them know that, despite their domestic problems, he loves them.

Press Clippings

Hamburger Abendblatt, 27. Februar 2010 
      Zeitreise in die Jahre nach dem Krieg

Im Halbdunkeln sitzt sie weinend auf dem plüschigen Sofa. Es ist zwei Uhr nachts, und Nettie Cleary (Janet Greaves) ist todunglücklich. Ihre Ehe mit John (Craig Pinder) ist ein einziger Trümmerhaufen, und ihr aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg heimgekehrter Sohn (Nick Rhys) ist nicht mehr der kleine Timmy, der er einmal war. „Mummy’s boy“ ist nun ein erwachsener Mann, der gerne mal ein Bier trinkt und nicht mehr dieselben religiösen Ansichten wie sein Vater hat. Menschen verändern sich. Das müssen alle im Hause Cleary erkennen.

Das Theaterstück „The Subject Was Roses“ von Frank D. Gilroy hatte im English Theatre Premiere—eine eindringliche und unterhaltsame Tragikomödie, die die Abgründe innerhalb einer Familie aufzeigt. Ein liebevoll gestaltetes Bühnenbild, muffige Kostüme und eine gewollt überzogene Spielweise, die an amerikanische Seifenopern der 50er-Jahre erinnert, alles passt perfekt zusammen. Und das Schauspielertrio zieht das Publikum in seinen Bann. (hpsd), 02.02.2010

Der Premierenabend von „The Subject was Roses“ begann mit einer süßen Überraschung. Jeder Zuschauer erhielt ein Stück Schokolade, eingewickelt in ein Papier mit Rosendekor. Auch die drei wunderbaren Schauspieler bekamen neben lebhaftem Applaus je einen Strauß roter Rosen. Craig Pinder, der mit zahlreichen Auszeichnungen dekorierte britische Schauspieler, gab den autoritären Familientyrannen John sehr überzeugend. Janet Greaves, eine in allen Sätteln gerechte Londoner Schauspielerin, deren Répertoireklassische wie moderne Stücke umfasst, leuchtete als Mum Nettie sämtliche Facetten mütterlicher Liebe und Besessenheit aus. Sehr eindrucksvoll agierte auch Nick Rhys als zwischen allen Stühlen sitzender Timmy, der sich nicht zwischen Gehorsam und Rebellion gegen seine Besitz ergreifenden Eltern entscheiden kann. Ein gelungener Theaterabend – diesmal unter der sensiblen Regie von Jenny Lee. Dieser Import aus Großbritannien macht dem English Theatre alle Ehre. Weiter so!

Letzte Vorstellung: 17. April 2010
Nächste Premiere am 29. 
April 2010 : „Deadly Game“, ein Thriller von David Foley

Hamburg Express, 02 March, 2010
Written by Julian Grajewski

The Subject Was Roses is an American Play set right after World War II in 1946, debuted in 1964 and revived most recently in 2010. I saw it in 1966 while attending university in Washington, D.C. The living room and kitchen set and the costumes of this production are realistic to the point that the small refrigerator in it is a Frigidaire, an American brand, and when Nettie Cleary cooks waffles for her returning veteran son Timmy, the waffle iron that she uses works. Kudos to the designer Mathias Wardek. Timmy Cleary's American army uniform is correct right down to the overseas cap, the shoulder patch, the good conduct medal, the campaign ribbons and the Combat Infantry Badge on his chest.

As it is, The Subject Was Roses encourages nostalgia, which can cloud an assessment of it, but I can report that the script by Frank D. Gilroy and the current production is a solid piece of theatre craft that allows the audience to explore the subject of the dead marriage of John and Nettie Cleary as they compete for the affections of their estranged son Timmy.

Irish-American John Cleary, a successful coffee merchant, has poisoned his marriage with his womanising and his drinking. Knowing this, his son Timmy buys a bouquet of roses for his mother and asks his father to say that he bought them. The fib perks up Nettie who feels an onrush of hope that is dashed when her husband John reveals the truth.
But this is no dark Eugene O’Neil Play. By the final act, John and Nettie moderately reconcile and their son Timmy is accepted by them as no longer the boy that left home three years before.

Craig Pinder plays John, Janet Greaves Plays Nettie and Nick Rhys plays Timmy under the direction of Jenny Lee. For me, sitting in the audience, at a certain moment the play achieved a Checkovian level of veracity that is a tribute to the artistic skills of the actors, director and supporting staff.

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