The Best of Friends (play)

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For The Best of Friends, 1902 play with Lionel Barrymore, viewed as pro-Boer by London critics, see Cecil Raleigh.

The Best of Friends is an epistolary play by Hugh Whitemore about the friendship of George Bernard Shaw, Sydney Cockerell, and Dame Laurentia McLachlan, based in the lengthy correspondence that passed between them for over 25 years. It was inspired by The Nun, the Infidel, and the Superman by Dame Felicitas Corrigan, a Benedictine nun at Stanbrook Abbey in the U.K.

George Bernard Shaw is considered one of the most important English-Language playwrights of the 20th century. Sydney Cockerell was the curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum and was well-connected to many intellectuals of his time. Dame Laurentia was a Benedictine nun and Abbess of Stanbrook from 1931-1953 and an authority on church music.

Originally produced as a stage play it first ran at the Hampstead Theatre in 1987, with Ray McAnally as Shaw, Sir John Gielgud as Cockerell, and Rosemary Harris as McLachlan.

In 1991 it was filmed for television, under the direction by Alvin Rakoff, with Patrick McGoohan as Shaw, Sir John Gielgud, and Dame Wendy Hiller.

The play was performed in New York in 1993 with Roy Dotrice as Shaw, Michael Allinson and Diana Douglas, and was revived in 2006 at the Hampstead Theatre, London, with Roy Dotrice, Michael Pennington and Patricia Routledge.


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