What business have Mrs. Artminster and her son Jerry in the Home Counties that necessitates a long stay in a small-town hotel in the off-season? The explanation they give the proprietor is obviously contrived, but he has his reasons for allowing them to stay.

In Simon Gray’s first play for the stage—which opened at Wyndham’s Theatre on 10th October, 1967 with Sir Alec Guinness in the lead—the truth is complex and its revelation electrifying.

“Wise Child is a clever, moving, perceptive and highly complicated examination of human relationships and emotional needs, with a plot quite subservient to it. Slowly, layer by layer you discover things in the two hotel rooms in which menace creeps up and claustrophobia stifles.” – Caren Meyer, Evening News.

“…in Mr Gray..the theatre has discovered a writer of quality and consequence.” – Harold Hobson, The Sunday Times.

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

Wise Child was first performed on 10th October 1967 at Wyndham’s Theatre, London, with the following cast:

MRS ARTMINSTER – Alec Guinness
MR BOOKER – Gordon Jackson
JERRY – Simon Ward
JANICE – Cleo Sylvestre

Director: John Dexter
Designer: Motley
Lighting: Richard Pilbrow

SIMON GRAY ON WISE CHILD:

…The rest of the cast consisted of Gordon Jackson, who played a rapacious, God-intoxicated homosexual; Simon Ward, who played a motherless but mother-fixated homicidal maniac; and Cleo Sylvestre, who played a simple-minded cockney West Indian. The plot, and the violently farcical sexual collisions and corruptions arising from it were too…READ MORE

Read an interview with Cleo Syvestre in which she talks about her experience acting in Wise Child.

Selected other productions of Wise Child

PUBLISHING INFORMATION

Wise Child is now available as a Faber Contemporary Classic in Simon Gray: Plays 1. To order a copy on special offer at 25% discount please contact Faber and use code GRAYPLAYS. Or check out the plays section of our website.

Wise Child is also available in the following editions:

Wise Child (Faber and Faber 1968)
Wise Child (Samuel French US 1974)

LICENSING INFORMATION

For UK and Worldwide professional rights please contact Judy Daish Associates at rozzy@judydaish.com. For amateur rights please contact licensing@judydaish.com. For amateur rights in the USA and Canada, apply to Samuel French Inc at www.samuelfrench.com.