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South Bank, London SE1 9PX

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Rutherford and Son

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Closed August 3, 2019

The entire cast is superb. Roger Allam gives a performance of understated intensity.

Evening Standard

Why See Rutherford and Son?


A piercing look at power and family

Premiering the same year as the Titanic went down, Githa Sowerby's Rutherford and Son now enjoys a large-scale revival courtesy of Polly Findlay and the National Theatre. Led by Roger Allam as the titular factory owner Rutherford Snr, prepare to be transported back in time to the Industrial North where his iron fist and own family's dysfunction threatens to destroy a hard-won legacy.

Marking his first NT appearance in a decade, Allam shines as the manipulative patriarch, undermined by his children's wayward decisions, especially that of his heir John, who has turned his back on the family business in favor of marrying beneath his station. As Rutherford tries to tighten his hold over his offspring's ambitions and his glass-making factory, it soon becomes clear that these cracks can't be papered over.

Searing and atmospheric, Sowerby's play was inspired by her own upbringing in Gateshead and marked her as one of the first female playwrights to find success on the London stage.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 3 June 2019

Run time

Two hours and 35 minutes with one interval

Cast and Creative


Roger Allam
Justine Mitchell
Joe Armstrong
Harry Hepple
Barbara Marten
Sally Rogers
Sam Troughton
Anjana Vasan


Written by Githa Sowerby
Directed by Polly Findlay
Costume design by Lizzie Clachan
Lighting design by Charles Balfour
Movement direction by Polly Bennett
Sound design by Paul Arditti
Music by Kerry Andrew

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