Bodies - by James Saunders (1977)Commisioned by the Richmond Fringe Theatre at the Orange Tree, Richmond (Surrey, England), who first staged it on the 29th April 1977, with the following cast of characters -
A revised version was presented at the Hampstead Theatre on the 20th February 1978, with the following cast of characters -
The Hampstead Theatre production was transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre, London on 23 April 1979, with the following cast -
programme - Ambassadors Theatre, 23 April 1979
published by Samuel French, 1979
published by Dramatist's Play Service, 1979
published by Amber Lane, 1979
"Bodies is James Saunders' fourth play to appear in London's West End."
- from the back cover of the Amber Lane edition
"Bodies is a play for two men and two women. Mervyn, Anne, David and Helen are "middle-class, rate-paying" couples "approaching the evening of their lives". Years before, each had had an affair with the other's partner. For nine years they have not met. Now, hearing that David and Helen have returned to England from abroad, Mervyn, without consulting Anne, has asked them over "for a meal on Saturday". Helen accepted. In the intervening period of their absence Helen and David had undergone a course of therapy. This made a considerable difference to their manner of life: but David supposes that the other couple will not have changed much. The meeting leads to a discussion in which a very great deal of the inner lives, opinions, prejudices and outlooks of the four protagonists - and indeed, perhaps of all of us - is laid bare. In the first act dialogues between the couple in their separate houses alternate with monologues from each character in which earlier events are recalled. The second act is set in Mervyn and Anne's home, in a more straightforward style, on the evening of that significant meeting."
- from the back cover of the Samuel French edition (1979)
"Bodies ... is a play which, when we have laughed at its wit, have been held in the grip of its drama and revelled in the colours and layers of its language, still raises echo after echo in our minds and hearts."
- Bernard Levin, The Sunday Times
"This play by James Saunders positively glitters with rhetorical brilliance."
- Felix Barker, Evening News
"Saunders writes with a fastidious wit and subtle cadence that delights the ear."
- International Herald Tribune
"His best play to date."
- Frank Marcus, Sunday Telegraph