The Watsons in the West End: A guide to Laura Wade’s latest play

By | Posted on 13-Nov-2019

The Watsons in the West End: A guide to Laura Wade’s latest play

Laura Wade’s The Watsons based on an unfinished novel by Jane Austen transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2020. Ahead of the show’s West End opening in 2020, we flick through the pages of Austen’s 19th-century tale to find out why you need to see this story come to life!

The Watsons at the Harold Pinter Theatre

What’s the story of The Watsons?

At 19 years old, Emma Watson finds herself in the middle of a new town. Cut off by her aunt and faced with no choice but to move into the family home, Emma realises that she must marry fast or face a life of poverty and spinsterhood.

With plenty of potential suitors announced including Tom Musgrave and Lord Osborne, the possibilities for true love remain high.

But, Jane Austen didn’t finish the story.

Reimagining the incomplete novel by the infamous British laureate into the present day, The Watsons in a show that asks what happens when characters are left abandoned by their author.

What was The Watsons’ journey to the West End?

The Watsons received its world premiere in the Minerva Theatre at Chichester Festival Theatre for a limited engagement from 3rd November to 1st December 2018, rounding off the 2018 season at the iconic British venue. After a short run in Chichester, The Watsons found its first London home at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where it began previews on 20th September 2019, ahead of an official opening on 30th November 2019. As some of the hottest tickets around, it’s no surprises that The Watsons was a sell-out success at the Menier.

On 12th November, it was announced that The Watsons would receive its West End premiere at the Harold Pinter Theatre, with performances from 6th May 2020.

What other plays has Laura Wade written?

Laura Wade is an award-winning British playwright, whose catalogue of critically-acclaimed plays includes the Olivier-Award winning Home, I’m Darling, which won best new comedy at the 2019 Olivier Awards. One of her most famous plays is Posh, which received its London premiere at the Royal Court, later transferring to the Duke of York’s Theatre and going on to win best new play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Notable plays by Laura Wade include an adaptation of Sarah Water’s Tipping The Velvet, Colder Than Here, Breathing Corpses and Other Hands.

Who will star in The Watsons?

The cast for The Watsons at the Harold Pinter Theatre is to be announced.

The full cast that starred in The Watsons at the Menier Chocolate Factory was completed by Sam Alexander, Sally Bankes, Joe Bannister, Jane Booker, Elaine Claxton, Tim Delap, Sophie Duval, Louise Ford, John Wilson Goddard, Grace Molony, Elander Moore, Paksie Vernon, Cat White, Laurence Ubong Williams, Rhianna McGreevy, Isaac Forward, Sonny Fowler and Teddy Probets.

What did critics think of The Watsons?

“A large ensemble cast rise to its frequently hilarious changes of tone and direction. It’s a play that both celebrates Austen and teases her into embracing new contemporary thoughts and ideas with refreshing vigour.”
★★★★
Mark Shenton
LondonTheatre.co.uk

” Laura Wade’s recent work has hit a rich seam. Here, she uses the limitations of the marriage plot to wrestle with free will and authorship – and, specifically, female authorship.”
★★★★
Jessie Thompson
Evening Standard

“Sam West’s production is also fluffy and good-humored – subversive on the British addiction to period drama while being fundamentally sympathetic to it.”
★★★★
Andrzej Lukowski
Time Out

Where is The Watsons being performed?

The Watsons is at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 8th May 2020. The Harold Pinter Theatre is located on Panton Street (SW1Y 4DN). The closest train station is Charing Cross, which is a 5-10 minute walk away from the theatre. Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines are available from Piccadilly Circus tube station.