Laura Wade’s play The Watsons, which ingeniously concludes Jane Austen’s abandoned novel of the same name, is set to transfer to the West End’s Harold Pinter Theatre following its critically-acclaimed runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Austen’s story follows Emma Watson, who is forced to assess her options when her wealthy aunt cuts her off. She decides to find a new suitor to avoid a life of poverty, and settles on a dashing socialite, and a rich Lord.That’s where Austen got to before deciding – for reasons unknown – not to continue the story. Wade’s witty play imagines how it could have ended.
Laura Wade’s last play to open in the West End was the Olivier Award-winning comedy Home, I’m Darling, which ran at the Duke of York’s Theatre after a premiere run at the National Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in Wales. He other work includes Posh at the Royal Court.
The play is directed by Samuel West, who has previously directed After Electra at the Tricycle, Waste at the Almeida and Dealer’s Choice at the Menier.
This transfer follows the Menier’s other recent West End transfers including Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith, Travesties starring Tom Hollander, and Fiddler on the Roof, which starred Andy Nyman and Judy Kuhn.
In a four-star review of the Menier Chocolate Factory production – which ends on Saturday – Mark Shenton hailed the play one that “celebrates Austen and teases her into embracing new contemporary thoughts and ideas with refreshing vigour”.