by Nick Dear
Rose Theatre Kingston September to October 2018
Set in an imagined version of eighteenth century London, Hogarth’s Progress is a riotous double bill of plays following one of Britain’s most celebrated artists on two spectacularly wild days and nights – one at the beginning of his career and one at the end.
The plays explore the extraordinary life of William Hogarth and the commercialisation of art in a time that saw British culture spring from the drawing rooms of the wealthy into ordinary houses across the country. Filled with political satire, boisterous romps and sleazy characters, Hogarth’s Progress promises to be an extraordinary theatrical event not to be missed.
The double bill begins with the first major revival of The Art of Success, which was first performed by the RSC in 1986 before transferring to the Barbican and New York. Compressing the artist’s ascent to fame into a single, action-filled night, Dear follows a larger-than-life Hogarth as he mingles with famous playwrights and artists, royalty and prostitutes, prime ministers and murderesses creating an exceedingly imaginative, thoroughly scurrilous, but nonetheless highly entertaining portrait of a world on the brink of transformation. The second play, The Taste of the Town, catches up with Hogarth 30 years later, finding him now hugely successful, yet still at odds with the world and with himself. Old and tired he may be, but there’s always time for one more fight.
Design Andrew D Edwards
Video Design Douglas O’Connell
Casting Stuart Burt