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The Living Room @ Jermyn Street Theatre

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Trapped in the Last 'Living' Room in the House

As a devout Roman Catholic, it is no surprise that much of Graham Greene's literary work centres around Catholicism. I do, however, find it surprising how negatively he portrays Catholics. More sinners than saints, most of his characters are promiscuous, adulterous, and hypocritical. Perhaps his religious satire was a result of his bipolar disorder, which governed him towards a pessimistic depiction of the Catholic faith, or perhaps he wanted to make a political point, but either way, his novels and plays all created the sense of being trapped by a set of overbearing ideals.

I don't think that can be said any more so than of his play, The Living Room, which takes the rules of the Catholic church to the point of suffocation. Rose Pemberton's two elderly aunts are terrified of death, so terrified that they lock up every room in their house that someone has died in. The living room is the only one left, meaning they and the audience are restricted to a very claustrophobic space.

When her mother dies, Rose does not join her aunts at Mass, but
instead meets her married lover and psychology lecturer, Michael, in a hotel. Greene's

The Living Room is a shocking story of sex, sin, and guilt. Instead of gong to Mass after her mother's funeral, Rose abandons her family responsibility, and goes to meet up with a married psychology lecturer in a hotel. The play premiered in 1953, and although it has taken sixty years, the show's first major revival is finally being staged at the Jermyn Street Theatre between the 5th-30th March. Tickets are 20 or 16 for concessions, and you can book either a Saturday matinee at 3.30pm or an evening performance at 7.30pm for Mondays-Saturdays.

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Why? Enjoy a trip to the theatre
When: 8th - 30th March
Phone: 020 7287 2875
Where: Jermyn Street Theatre
Cost: 20, 16 concessions
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