Our American Cousin  Finborough Theatre 2014


The first London production in more than a century


by Tom Taylor.

Directed by Lydia Parker.

Presented by Over Here Theatre Company in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.


"Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal – you sockdolagizing old man trap! "


In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, Our American Cousin is the play that President Abraham Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre, Washington DC, on 14 April 1865 – exactly 150 years ago. The first London production in more than a century opens at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of nine Sunday and Monday evening and Tuesday matinee performances from Sunday, 29 March 2015 (Press Night: Monday, 30 March 2015 at 7.30pm).


The 1850s. Trenchard Manor, somewhere in the British countryside, is home to a very British family with some very British problems. 


Sir Edward, patriarch of the household, is close to financial ruin and is desperately seeking ways to satisfy his creditors without losing the family estate.


The Manor is sought after by the villainous Coyle who also has designs on Sir Edward's lovely daughter, Florence. Meanwhile, her cousin, Mary Meredith, the rightful heir, is consigned to working as a milkmaid for the Manor. 


Cultures clash and plans are foiled when Asa Trenchard, a long lost cousin, arrives from the United States of America  with his own claim to her inheritance. "I'm Asa Trenchard, born in Vermont, suckled on the banks of Muddy Creek, about the tallest gunner, the slickest dancer, and generally the loudest critter in the state."


Amidst all the drama and conspiracy, the ridiculous toff Lord Dundreary is trying to find his hair dye, woo the sickly Georgina, and not bump into the furniture…


A unique opportunity to see a play that changed world history.

Playwright Tom Taylor (1817-1880) was a prolific writer of comedies, burlesques, melodramas and farces including classic melodrama The Ticket-of-Leave Man and the theatrical comedy Masks and Faces (co-written with Charles Reade) which received an acclaimed revival at the Finborough Theatre in 2004. Born in Sunderland, he became editor of Punch Magazine in 1874. Our American Cousin was written in 1851 to coincide with the invasion of American tourists visiting the Great Exhibition in London, and was a huge success in the USA where British actor, E. A. Sothern, expanded the role of Lord Dundreary, creating a classic comic character which was much celebrated and imitated. Tom Taylor is buried in Brompton Cemetery, just five minutes from the Finborough Theatre.