Early Morning

Early Morning is a surrealist farce by the English dramatist Edward Bond. It was first produced in 1968,[1] opening on 31 March at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by William Gaskill.[2] The play takes place in a contorted version of the court of Queen Victoria who is portrayed as a lesbian.[3] Her two sons are made conjoined twins. This made the play extremely scandalous, as did a scene in which the character Len eats another person standing in a queue in front of him.[4]

Early Morning
First edition: Calder and Boyars, 1968
Written byEdward Bond
Date premiered31 March 1968
Place premieredRoyal Court Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish

The censor

Early Morning was the final play to be banned by the Lord Chamberlain's Office when it was refused a license in its entirety in November 1967. The Royal Court then formed a members-only club to stage the play (as they had with Bond's Saved), but their plans were thwarted with the arrival of police at the 1968 first night. A further performance was given under guise of a free dress rehearsal in April. However, in September, stage censorship was abolished altogether with the passing of the Theatres Act 1968. The English Stage Company subsequently staged an ‘Edward Bond season’ at the Royal Court in 1969, with Saved, Narrow Road to the Deep North and Early Morning, followed by a European tour of the plays, to great acclaim.[5][6][7]

Original cast

Critical reception

Amongst contemporary reviews, the Daily Mirror accused the play of "Making an art form of the revolting"; City Press called it "The most disturbing and grotesque piece I have ever seen"; and The People concluded, "Ugh".[7]


  1. Banham (1998, 113)
  2. Bond, Edward (January 22, 2014). "Bond Plays: 1: Saved; Early Morning; The Pope's Wedding". A&C Black via Google Books.
  3. "THEATRE / Happy birthday, Edward Bond". The Independent. July 14, 1994.
  4. "Early Morning - Drama Online". www.dramaonlinelibrary.com.
  5. "Edward Bond | Special Collections | Library | University of Leeds". library.leeds.ac.uk.
  6. "History". Royal Court.
  7. "Thirty years ago today: 'Saved' for the nation, farewell to the". The Independent. February 21, 1999.


  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
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