The Night Heron (2019)

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Poster by Bryon Fear

by Jez Butterworth

Directed by Lisa Thomas

Performances: Tue 8th – Sat 12th October 2019, Old Fire Station


The play is set in the Fens just outside Cambridge over a few days in the winter of 2002. It tells the story of a couple of unemployed Cambridge University gardeners, Wattmore and Griffin, and the female ex-con (Bolla Fogg) they take as a lodger to help make ends meet. Religion, superstition and fear of the outsider permeate the play, which is hilarious and tragic at the same time and laden with poetry, allegory and general strangeness. As well as comedy policemen, ginger cake and rabbits.




I'd like to thank my cast first and foremost for getting so on board with this play, asking to do extra rehearsals, adding your many and very strong opinions, your sacrifices (sort of) and bravery (absolutely) and generally making it what it is.Cal Beckett and her team for wrangling improbable quantities of food and ludicrous props, Chaz Doyle for another amazing set (I did say it would be very simple), Carole Ironside for putting together the beautiful iconostasis, Bryon Fear for his moody lighting design and exquisite poster and Sean Thomas for his outstanding rigging, Tom Watts for the evocative soundscape, Barry Heselden and the How to Disappear.. cast for swapping rehearsal space with us, Bex Law for her patience at our endless requests for rehearsal space. Thanks also to Adam Crook, Jennifer Nettles, Elena Markham and Jason Salmon. Also to bar staff for keeping us watered and box office and front of house for making sure people get to see it.


Bryon Fear

The Night Heron is one of the best plays I’ve read in many years. A play that is transportative and takes you into a world you’d never ordinarily find yourself; a tale which walks a tightrope between the very ordinary and a League of Gentlemen-esque darkness which is gently brought to life by an array of characters you will love and hate ... (but mostly love).

I was at a stumble through tech rehearsal last night and I must say, despite the stopping and starting, the corpsing and some failed lighting cues, it was a delight - extremely funny in places and I will go out on a limb here and say that everyone has brought their A-Game to the direction, acting and overall design.

Anna Rubincam

SLT was in full plumage last night with the Night Heron. Lisa Thomas’s vision is immersive and meticulous and the performances from the cast are extraordinary. This is a show that will stay with you and follow you home. Don’t miss it!

Will Howells

Excellent stuff all round from The Night Heron gang! Every element of the production spot on and of course that includes the fantastic cast. Great work!

Saffy Andrews

Glad I got to see 'The Night Heron' last night, what a talented bunch and the set was lovely. Anyone who hasn't had a chance to see 'The Night Heron' what are you even doing.

Give it a watch, so silly not to. Break a leg for the rest of the shows XxxxX

Bex Law

PSA: The Night Heron is beautifully crafted: brilliantly acted by a faultless cast, subtle & engaging direction, & you even get to learn some anatomy. GO VISIT THE FENS!

Kim Goldsmith

(At time of writing) Two more chances to see The Night Heron - one of my favourite SLT shows so far, and that is saying something as there have been many fabulous shows! The play is mesmerising and confounding (in a good way). The cast to is top notch - special kudos to Caroline Doyle, Jack King, Tom Watts with a great performance against type and Louie Chapman. And I loved the set - it reminded me of some professional sets I have seen. Finally, who could pass up another chance to see the beloved SLT rabbits?!?

Seriously, this is one you don't want to miss - I was a wee bit surprised that it wasn't quite full last night.

Carole Coyne

If you have a free evening tonight or tomorrow, there are still tickets for SLT's excellent production of Jez Butterworth's The Night Heron. Dark, broody, mysterious and surprisingly funny, it has an amazing set, moody lighting and very strong performances. I am going tonight for a second dose.

Helen Jones

This show will stick in the memory for some time, for sure.

Christine Theophilus

Congratulations to you, Caroline, Jack, Tom and everyone involved in this brilliant production. And thanks, Lisa for great direction (and casting). Lovely set, too, thanks Chaz.

Kaít Feeney

Well done to the cast, crew & Lisa for tonight’s production. It kept me hooked right the way through due to the cracking performances. Thank you.

Peter Stevens

Has the last night of night heron sold out yet? It deserves to be crammed to the set rafters. Pitch perfect performances in an incredibly engaging and very funny play. Don’t mug yourself. Go see.

Guy Jones

I feel drawn toward a rare posting to congratulate everyone concerned with The Night Heron. Beautifully character-driven, completely engaging and SLT at a notable peak. Remote locations may have a romance through the camera lens, but it made me think I’ll just appreciate them through the nice photos. (The play reminded me of the C4 show Flowers, but with more depth.) Catch the final performance Saturday, or read the Boogle reviews and weep!

Matthew Davies

There are still plenty of tickets available for tomorrow's performance of the Night Heron and there damn well shouldn't be [NB The last night was a sellout]. Fantastic performances all round, an incredibly atmospheric set and pretty much everything that makes you proud to be a member of the SLT. Just go see it.

Elena Markham

The Night Heron is bloody brilliant! If you haven’t got a ticket, buy one!

Barry Heselden

Everyone has said everything you need to know. This is a brilliant production. Last night of The Night Heron is tonight. Not seen it? You know what to do.

Matt Lowing

I just wanted to congratulate you on your brilliant staging of the Jez Butterworth play.

The acting and production were superb and I especially enjoyed the play when it was a three-hander, with the excellent dialogue and stage chemistry.

Well done.

Lily Ann Coleman

I have to be honest that I do not like the play or any of Mr Butterworth's - I know I'm probably alone in the whole world


you created an amazing ensemble.

The best and most different things by far I have seen Tom W and Chris B do. Well done. I've either seen or worked on two productions and this was the first one that actually started to make sense of the play for me and that I cared about the characters. I also laughed more. Also the first one where Neddy and Dougal were actually scary rather than just comic turns.

Well done and enjoy your last show.


Reminiscences and Anecdotes

This play has been the generator of a multitude of new #hashtags by the hashtag king, Mr Tom Watts: #BEAD (book early avoid disappointment) has been joined by #BLAST (book late and stress Tom); #BEAST (book early avoid stressing Tom) and #BEQUEATH (book early, quit upsetting everyone at theatre headquarters) as well as Caroline Doyle's #CASTS (come along see the show). And #BAT (Be Amazing Tonight) and #YASNS (You Are So Not Shit) from the director.

See Also

Have there been other SLT productions of this play? Link to them here.

Or add anything that is related within this site. The author's page for instance or other plays with a similar theme.


External Links