Sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons – The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, is a modern-day classic. Comedic in tone, dramatic in action – the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family, who are locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom.
Henry II has declared that his youngest son John will occupy the throne while his imprisoned wife, Eleanor, wants their oldest son, Richard, to climb on. Henry has magnanimously paroled Eleanor for the day and she has plenty to say about the situation. Meanwhile, Henry has promised Prince Philip of France that his sister Alais will marry Richard, even though she is his own mistress. It’s one big mess.
Henry manipulates each son with the throne – even middle son Geoffrey, who has no promise of the crown, is not exempt. Queen Eleanor does the same, dangling twin carrots of fame and fortune in front of each one, pitting them against themselves. Does family loyalty have a chance?
Written in 1966 by James Goldman, The Lion in Winter quickly became a classic. It was adapted into an Oscar-winning movie in 1968 starring Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn and has enjoyed a number of Broadway and West End revivals.
The Lion in Winter is presented for a strictly limited season at The Rose Centre from 5th to 9th June 2019 by Foolish Wit Theatre.