A fantasy Oxford, catastrophic floods and a menagerie of daemons come to the Bridge Theatre as Nicholas Hytner brings Philip Pullman's magic to the stage. La Belle Sauvage the play was due to open in July 2020 and has since been postponed to 2021, more than a decade after Hytner enchanted audiences with the National Theatre production based on Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
The 2017 novel La Belle Sauvage is the first in the Book of Dust trilogy, which sheds new light on the mysterious forces and strange creatures of Pullman's hugely popular series, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
The trilogy starts with a prequel, where Lyra is a babbling baby who must be saved by extreme floods and escorted from Oxford to London. Her saviours are a thoughtful boy called Malcolm and a no-nonsense kitchen maid called Alice, who scoop up the baby and sail away on a small boat named La Belle Sauvage. The second book,The Secret Commonwealth (published in October 2019) skips forward to show Lyra as an undergraduate travelling the world in search of disillusioned daemons and a haunted desert city.
Playwright Bryony Lavery adapts the story for the stage, having proved her skills bringing books to life with adaptations of A Christmas Carol (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Treasure Island (National Theatre). And director Nicholas Hytner has proven prowess with the fantasy world of Philip Pullman. The 2003 two-part stage version of His Dark Materials was a triumph, which still shines bright in the memory of those who saw it and regularly tops lists of the best plays to grace the National Theatre stage.
So it is certainly a coup for Hytner to secure La Belle Sauvage for his new Bridge Theatre, and it's likely a starry cast will follow (the His Dark Materials stage adaptation featured Ben Whishaw, Patricia Hodge, Timothy Dalton and Dominic Cooper).
La Belle Sauvage on stage is set to be a 2021 theatre highlight.
|What||The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre|
|Where||Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park, London, SE1 2SG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
11 Jul 21 – 10 Oct 21, Exact dates TBD
|Price||£15 - £75|
|Website||Click here to book and for more information|