Page extent: 96
ISBN: 9781783197613
Binding: PaperBack

A Subject of Scandal and Concern (and Almost a Vision)

John Osborne

PaperBack (22 May 2016)

“I have injured no man’s reputation, taken no man’s property, attacked no man’s person, violated no oath, taught no immorality. I was asked a question and answered it openly.”

Cheltenham, 1842. George Jacob Holyoake is a poor young teacher, making his way from Birmingham to Bristol to visit a friend who has been imprisoned for publishing a journal that criticises the establishment. When he makes a stop in Cheltenham to address a lecture, his words and his overwhelming commitment to speaking the truth will change his life forever. Arrested and tried for blasphemy, and separated from his starving wife and child, Holyoake is faced with the choice of conforming or staying true to his beliefs in a time of injustice and intolerance.

Based on the true story of the last man to stand trial for blasphemy in England, A Subject Of Scandal And Concern was originally written for television in 1960 starring Richard Burton and Rachel Roberts, and directed by Tony Richardson, and was first seen onstage in Nottingham in the early 1960s. This production marks the first theatrical staging of the play in over 40 years and its long overdue London premiere.

This volume also contains the short play Almost a Vision.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783197613
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 96


'Written for a 1960 television production starring Richard Burton, John Osborne's play has hardly been seen since. It deserves a theatrical revival, however, both for the fascination of its subject, which is an 1842 blasphemy trial, and for what it reveals about Osborne himself... the play demonstrates that Osborne's social rage was accompanied by a gnawing preoccupation with religion.' Michael Billington, The Guardian

'As ever, the Finborough Theatre punches far above its diminutive weight with another rediscovery by a major playwright... a short but bracing play about freedom of speech and trying to stay true to one’s moral convictions... Gripping, rarely seen Osborne play is fascinatingly unearthed'  The Stage