Raffish, urbane and frequently drunk, David Highland has kept a grip on his remote coastal parish through a combination of disordered charm and high-handed determination.
When his faith impels him to take a hard line with a bereaved parishioner, he finds himself dangerously isolated from public opinion. As his own family begins to fracture, David must face a future that threatens to extinguish not only his position in the town, but everything he stands for.
Stephen Beresford’s play The Southbury Child is a darkly comic drama exploring family and community, the savage divisions of contemporary society, and the rituals that punctuate our lives. It was co-produced by Chichester Festival Theatre and the Bridge Theatre, London, in 2022, starring Alex Jennings and directed by Nicholas Hytner.
‘Hugely cathartic, this is the play of the year so far… blissfully funny and ineffably touching… a heaven-sent new play’
‘A rare and heartfelt portrait of post-Christian Britain’
— The Times
‘Electrifying, bristling with wit and ideas… Can almost be considered as a companion piece to Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, exploring some of the same themes in a similar setting, a clash of local cultures embedded within a fracturing national culture’
— Broadway World
‘Beautifully crafted… Beresford has captured a moment of change in our time… It’s a cracking state of the nation piece’
‘A fine new play to soothe the soul and mend the heart… Beresford plumbs the deepest human feelings [with] a scene of savage beauty I’ll never forget’
— Mail on Sunday
‘An impressive state-of-the-nation play… Chekhovian in intensity… deeply moving, with some fabulously funny lines, while a succession of twists ensures the drama never drops’
— The Stage
‘Painfully funny…. properly laugh-out-loud character comedy that gets near the knuckle and stays there… the best West Country drama I’ve seen since Jerusalem‘
— Time Out