High Risk Zone

A city in fear as terrorist bombs explode across London. 12 people try to get on with their lives. Ageing impresario Jack tries to capture his lost youth… Judd tries to kick smoking and deadbeat lovers… Young Zoe loses it… Phil tries to find a new creed. Alex worries about everyhting… This highly original drama which mixes a whirling multiple staging with mulitmedia and a vibrant soundtrack ranging from techno to soul classics paints a startling, touching picture of modern London.

Staged at the Almeida, London

Naked guest

27th January 1837. In the snows outside St Petersburg, the poet Alexander Pushkin, at the height of his fame, selects his pistol to duel with the alleged lover of his beautiful young wife Natalie… A powerful and touching play about human desire, fear and jealousy focusing on the lasy days and haunting poetry of Russia;s greatest poet.

 Staged at the Pleasance, Edinburgh

 

“One is spellbound…high class” Bonnie Lee, The Scotsman

Numisata

Winter 1698. The Thames is frozen. Old John Evelyn, the first great conservationist, receives a mysterious visitor at his house by Deptford dockyard – the gigantic young Russian emperor Peter the Great, in England incognito to learn about western ways and warships.

The play brings vividly to life both the explosive encounter between these two remarkable men, and Peter’s passionate affair with the spirited young English actress Laetitia Cross, for who the composer Henry Purcell wrote his best songs.

Dramatized reading staged at the Bridewell, London 

Hard house

Two young girls trapped in the dark outside a nightclub, high on E, endure a terrifying and revealing night.

 

Musicals

Anya

Music and Lyrics John Farndon

(Donmar showcase)

Inspired by a true story and set in Stalin’s Russia and the America of McCarthy ‘Anya’ begins with the doomed love between Russian singer Anya and American naval officer Louis in Moscow in the last days of World War 2. Louis is expelled from Russia and Anya sent to the gulags, but as she grows up their child Katya makes a desperate bid to reunite her parents across the divide of the Cold War.

Video by Abdirahman Cadani at Code Blue media, edited by Shoot You.

Dreamweaver

Book and lyrics by John Farndon, Songs by John Farndon.

(Donmar showcase)

“Let me take you away from the trials of the day…”

The Dreamweaver interweaves the mixed up lives of group of contemporary Dubliners with the ancient Irish legend of the bard Ossian and his strange journey to Tir na n’Og, the fairy land of youth, to create a multi-layered tale in which reality, stories and dreams swirl to and fro, in a mix of song and dialogue, music and narrative, dance and visual media.

In Love and War

Book and lyrics by John Farndon, Music by Marc Folan and John Farndon

 (Wyllyots)

‘…In Love & War’ is a powerful original musical in which love and betrayal in wartime France lead to the heart of a modern political scandal. It is set partly in Occupied France in 1944 and partly in the 1980s, when Mitterand’s Socialists came to power after long years of Gaullist rule. At the centre of the story is socialist politician Henri Dumas, whose iron-willed determination to fight for his ideals blinds him to the effects of his actions around him – with tragic consequences.

The Duchess of Crime

Music and lyrics John Farndon (based on an idea by Howard Ginsberg)

(Cauldron)

Set in three different times over 200 years, Duchess of Crime is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary painting by Thomas Gainsborough – those who owned it, and those who fought over it. At the heart of the story are two people. First there is the subject of Gainsborough’s masterpiece – the beautiful Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who caused a sensation in 18th century society with her scandalous lifestyle and her extraordinary political skill. Second there is Adam Worth, the Victorian master criminal who stole the painting and whose love for it became so great that he would sacrifice his  whole world for it.

Crazy Days 

Music and lyrics John Farndon

(Cauldron) 

Based on Nancy Mitford’s Hilarious yet oddly poignant 1932 novel  ‘A Christmas Pudding’, Crazy Days is a scintillating musical that delves into the Bright Young Things of the Early 1930s and the convoluted goings on at a Christmas house party, commission for Plymouth Theatre Royal

 

Operas

La Boheme

by Puccini English libretto by John Farndon

(Arcola)

 

“The production scores a palpable hit with John Farndon’s witty, slightly knowing, but entirely plausible contemporary translation…There are some very funny episodes in this production…and they take their origin from the brio and sheer quality of the writing…there is a superb fit between words and music”
British Theatre

“…although the setting has been re-imagined, John Farndon’s superb, contemporary English libretto, stays true to the original”
London Theatre

“sharp new translation by John Farndon”
Plays to See

 

 Li Seraglio 

Mozart, English Libretto John Farndon 

(Salisbury Playhouse, Plymouth Theatre Royal, London Riverside)

“…the audience greeted it with rapture”
Plymouth Evening Herald

“…directness and sincerity”
Opera

“A brilliant treat”
Salisbury Journal

 

 

 

 

Where are all the bees?

An ecooratorio by John Farndon 

 

 

Translated plays

Dog in a Manger

 

By Lope de Vega, English verse translation by John Farndon

 (Arc, Soho)

 “Stirring acting and a fine colloquial translation”
Plays and players

“John Farndon’s new translation puts the fizz back into (Lope’s) play, allowing the caustic wit to shine amidst the seething jealousy, hatred and capricious self-deception…delicious”
Edinburgh Festival Times

“Slick, sophisticated and more subversive than Shakespeare”

Clare Bayley, What’s On

“Farndon’s translation is wittily direct, as colloquially scatological as Nick Dear’s translation of Tirso (the RSC’s Don Juan)”
Kate Bassett, The Guardian

“Another superb work…The thrill of Lope’s play lies in its tragicomic shifts of tone…the translation by John Farndon is…fresh and fluent…capturing the vigour, surprises and range of this exhilirating play.”
Alistair Macaulay, Financial Times

“entertaining throughout”
Helen Rose, Time Out

Mad for Love

 

By Lope de Vega, English verse translation by John Farndon

 (Riverside)

“John Farndon’s translation sparkles…”
Adrian Turpin, The Independent

Contact Author

jfarndon@dircon.co.uk