Longing (play)

Longing is a 2013 play by the Scottish writer William Boyd, based on the short stories My Life ("The Story of a Provincial")[1] and "A Visit to Friends" by the Russian author Anton Chekhov. Its premiere production ran at the Hampstead Theatre in London from 28 February to 6 April 2013 (with the press night on 7 March[2][3]), directed by Nina Raine and starring Tamsin Greig, Iain Glen, John Sessions, Jonathan Bailey, Natasha Little, Eve Ponsonby and Catrin Stewart. Boyd, who was theatre critic for the University of Glasgow in the 1970s and has many actor friends, refers to his ambition to write a play as finally getting "this monkey off my back".[3]

Written byWilliam Boyd
Date premiered28 February 2013 (2013-02-28)
Place premieredHampstead Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish

Michael Billington, theatre critic for The Guardian, said that the play is "something of a hybrid: neither pure Boyd nor pure Chekhov. But it works because it deals with eternal Russian themes – and because it is performed with rare musical precision".[4]

However, Clare Brennan, for The Observer, said: "Boyd tacks circumstantial details to plotline shreds then trims characters to fit his pattern. The result is not a patch on the originals."[5]


  1. Snetiker, Marc (4 January 2013). "Tamsin Greig and John Sessions to Lead William Boyd's Longing in London". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. "Main Stage: Longing". Hampstead Theatre. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. Mesure, Susie (16 December 2012). "William Boyd: The man who knows the real 007". The Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  4. Billington, Michael (8 March 2013). "Longing – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  5. Brennan, Clare (10 March 2013). "Longing – review". The Observer. Retrieved 13 March 2018.

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