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Cyril’s Success - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DURING 2018, the Finborough Theatre celebrates 150 years of the Finborough Theatre building with an anniversary selection of the best plays from 1868.

The FINBOROUGH150 series opens with the first London production since 1890 of Cyril’s Success by playwright and local resident Henry J. Byron, which plays for nine Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from February 4 to February 20.

If ever you publish that volume of poetry which you threaten us with, I will not only review it favourably, but damme, I’ll read it.

London, 1868. Young playwright Cyril Cuthbert is at the beginning of what promises to be a triumphant career. Eagerly pursued by theatre managers, critics and star actors, and lovingly supported by his wife, Cyril is happier than ever.

But as his career takes off, his newly-won fame takes a toll on his marriage until Mrs Cuthbert discovers proof that Cyril’s attention and heart have wandered…

First staged in November 1868 in London, and the following year in the United States, and filled with pungent – and still very apposite – satire of critics, writers, actors and theatre folk, Cyril’s Success was one of Henry J. Byron’s biggest successes – a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy about the trials and joys of marriage and of a life in the theatre.

Hannah Boland Moore (Veterans Day, Finborough Theatre) directs a cast that includes Tim Gibson (as Cyril Cuthbert), Lewis Hart (Titeboy), Will Kelly (Major Treherne), Allegra Marland (Mrs Bliss), Isabella Marshall (Mrs Cuthbert), Stephen Rashbrook (Mr Pincher) and Susan Tracy (Miss Grannet).

Playwright Henry James Byron (1835-1884) was a prolific playwright, producing over 150 dramatic works, as well as being an editor, journalist, actor, theatre manager and director. His many successful plays include Our Boys (1875) which broke the records for London’s longest-running play with 1,362 performances of the original production.

He is possibly best remembered today for his work in pantomime where he created the character of Widow Twankey in Aladdin, or, The Wonderful Scamp (1861), and added both the Ugly Sisters and Buttons to Cinderella (1860). He was the editor of Fun magazine (1861), showcasing the talents of the young W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, close to the Finborough Theatre.

Presented by Lauren King for Marooned Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Cyril’s Success is designed by Daisy Blower, with lighting by Gregory Jordan and sound and music by Conor Cook.

Also at the Finborough Theatre: the European premiere of Into the Numbers (until January 27) and the world premiere of Imaginationship by Sue Healy (January 7 to January 23, 2018).

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 (until January 29) and 01223 357851 (from January 30) or visit