Passing By (Finborough)

Passing By by Martin Sherman
by Martin Sherman
Finborough Theatre
September 2012


One of the most radical plays ever written. Quirky, funny, touching, romantic and revolutionary. It overturned my life. Perhaps it will do the same for others.” Simon Callow

The first London production since Gay Sweatshop’s original 1975 production of Martin Sherman’s groundbreaking Passing By plays at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of eight performances on Sunday and Monday evenings with Monday and Tuesday matinees, opening on Sunday, 16 September 2012 (Press Night: Monday, 17 September 2012 at 7.30pm), directed by award-winning director Andrew Keates, starring Alex Felton and multi-award-nominated Steven Webb.

Love isn’t forever. Love is just passing by.

A charming romantic comedy about a love between two men whose hearts pull them together as their lives pull them apart from the author of the multi-award-winning Bent (one of the National Theatre’s one hundred most significant plays of the twentieth century), Messiah, When She Danced, Rose and the film Mrs Henderson Presents.

Passing By was first produced at Playwrights Horizons, New York City, in 1974, and by Gay Sweatshop at the Almost Free Theatre in 1975. This production is the first London revival since the original production.

Alex Felton (Simon). Steven Webb (Toby)

Directed by Andrew Keates.
Designed by Philip Lindley. Lighting by Miguel Vicente.
Costume Design by Philippa Batt. Sound Design by Fred Riding.
Stage Management by Amber Chappell.

All photographs by Scott Rylander. Music by Matthew Strachan.

All photographs by Scott Rylander.

“A small but perfectly formed (and perfectly performed) production at the always-invaluable Finborough Theatre.”

Mark Shenton, The Stage

“It still remains revolutionary, even by today’s standards.”
★★★★ Everything Theatre

“Immaculately directed by Andrew Keates.” 
Mark Shenton, The Stage

“I adored every minute. It wasn’t a story of romanticised passion, nor did it attempt to challenge our understanding of love: rather, it re-affirmed it.”
★★★★ Annabel Baldwin, A Younger Theatre

“It recognises a real moment of truth and feeling that’s at once heartbreaking and liberating.”
Mark Shenton, Shenton’s View

“Their slow-burning and honest falling in love is romantic and the whole production is infused with a lazy-cuddling-on-Sunday feel… A warm, sweet way to spend an evening as summer draws to a close”
★★★★ Jessica Bailey, One Stop Arts

“Plays which explore gay relationships in a realistic and unclichéd way can be surprisingly hard to find. Passing By is an exception…Considering the recent developments surrounding civil partnerships and gay marriage, there is no better time to highlight love stories such as this one. I can’t help but wonder why there isn’t more of this kind of thing on stage nowadays. Perhaps this is the start of a change. I do hope so.”
★★★★ Everything Theatre

“Martin Sherman’s play, which feels uncomfortably prescient in foreshadowing the future in its portrait of two new lovers facing an illness together, is also more positively a work of quiet but overwhelming power that makes no apology or excuse for the men reaching out to each other and falling in love.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage

“Felton was flawless in his performance of Simon.”
★★★★ Annabel Baldwin, A Younger Theatre

“Steven Webb plays the romantic artist Toby (Simon Callow in the original London production) with typical charisma, his acting style makes it seem so deceptively easy for him to disappear into the demanding role and, like Alex Felton as partner Simon, provides an absorbing performance.”
Gareth Richardson, Bargain Theatreland

“Webb delivers big laughs aplenty but also brings great depth to the more serious moments, particularly towards the end.”
★★★★ Everything Theatre

“Andrew Harmer and Andrew Keates…in conjunction with The Finborough Theatre have reinvented a political gem.”
Gareth Richardson, Bargain Theatreland

“The set is done to New York perfection, or imperfection, by designer Philip Lindley.”
★★★★ One Stop Arts

“Alex Felton (Simon) and Steven Webb (Toby) showed moments of genuine connection to the characters they portrayed and as the relationship grew there were some very touching moments.”
★★★★ Philip Benjamin, The Good Review

“Andrew Harmer and Andrew Keates…in conjunction with The Finborough Theatre have reinvented a political gem.”
Gareth Richardson, Bargain Theatreland

“Andrew Keates’ production also makes a good case for the play today in its own right”
Partially Obstructed View

It seems astonishing that Passing By was written 40 years ago now, and first given a full staging in 1975 by Gay Sweatshop in London in a production that co-starred Simon Callow. A lot of water, not to mention blood, has flowed under the bridge and across the Atlantic in the years in between, in terms of gay life, levels of acceptance in society, and sadly, the awful shadow of AIDS that passed over gay men in particular (and remains with us as a life-threatening disease even now).
Mark Shenton, The Stage