Some Gorgeous Accident by James Kennaway (April 2014)

The CLF Theatre at the Bussey Building
133 Rye Lane
London SE15 4ST

1-27 April 2014

by James Kennaway, adapted by Robert Shaw

directed by Robert Shaw
designed by Gillian Argo
stage manager Bella Burton

Damn you. I want some new. Some happening. I want some fucking crucifixion. Some gorgeous accident!”

Some Gorgeous Accident, adapted from James Kennaway‘s novel by Robert Shaw.

Inside Intelligence is immensely proud to present its UK premiere adaptation of this groundbreaking novel by the great Scottish novelist, screenwriter and playwright James Kennaway (Tunes of Glory, The Battle of Britain, Country Dance, The Cost of Living Like This).

Based in part on the real life 1960s love triangle involving James Kennaway, his wife Susan and celebrated author John Le CarréSome Gorgeous Accident cuts fearlessly to the heart of love, passion, sex, loyalty and what it means to be alive. Controversial in its subject and experimental in its form, this brilliant and unjustly neglected novel cost Kennaway 5 tortured years of professional and personal upheaval, as well as 5 monumental drafts, to complete. It was published a few precious months before his tragic early death in 1968 in a car accident on the M4. Kennaway was on the brink of achieving the true greatness that his rich talent deserved; his untimely death at the age of 40 robbed him of his destiny and deprived us of the full flowering of this extraordinary and unique talent.

‘How wonderfully close fiction and life have suddenly become.’
James Kennaway

James Kennaway was going for broke in this novel.’
Melvyn Bragg

‘I know of no living English writer who has so fearlessly probed the human condition as James Kennaway and who has nevertheless succeeded in retaining his compassion.’
John Le Carré

‘Artists have, as people, no licence to behave badly: but the chances are that they will, at some periods of their life, do just that. They have to take chances with life as with art, lay it on the line. Those who, like Waugh, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Kennaway, are granted the carapace of young success, may well have to seek out dangerous playgrounds, they will have to search for the dark alleys, the mean streets, the infernal corridors; they will have to listen in the bleak blank hours of the night’s house for the signal of despair. If they’re lucky, they’ll come through and write true. If not, they die. But if they don’t take the risk, what dies is not the body, but the talent; and that death leaves no rosy glow in the future’s western sky.’
Allan Massie (The London Review of Books)

Inside Intelligence presented a short try-out version of Some Gorgeous Accident at Assembly Hall in Edinburgh in August 2010. 3 tortured years and several monumental rewrites later, the full production is finally ready for the London stage, following an acclaimed rehearsed reading on Wednesday 26th June 2013 at Trafalgar Studio 2.

‘Robert Shaw’s smart and snappy production.’
John Glenn (The Scotsman)

‘Inside Intelligence’s slick production uses minimal staging, score and costume changes to maximum effect in conjuring up sex- and gin-soaked Soho.’
Nancy Groves (

★★★★ ‘This triangular love affair is a sophisticated soap opera smudged naturally by scandal. Susie loves Link and Fiddes, his best friend. The threesome become embroiled in a web of tension in the Swinging London of the sixties, engaging the audience in a magnificent tale of what happens next. Throw in a prostitute who is used and abused and quite rightly exacting revenge no matter whose reputation gets hurt and you have the recipe for an outrage. A tense courtroom drama ensues. Supposedly based on the breakdown of Scottish writer James Kennaway’s marriage when his wife took off with author John Le Carré, the play muses elegantly on our most fragile human emotions. This is a slick, edgy number – the stuff of real life newspaper dirt.’
Jeannie West (Edinburgh Guide)

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