The Breath of Life

By David Hare

2005 National Tour

February 7 – May 7, 2005 – 10.5 week tour to 23 venues in VIC, TAS, NSW, ACT, QLD, WA, SA
Frankston, Bendigo, Sale, Launceston, Moonee Ponds, Ringwood, Colac, Horsham, Werribee, Nunawading, Belrose, Portland, Pakenham, South Morang, Warragul, Ballarat, Tuggeranong, Coffs Harbour, Ipswich, Caloundra, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth. 

A production by Christine Harris & HIT Productions

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.

Breath of Life is a moral tale of two women, both in their sixties, whose lives are interwoven in ways neither of them yet understands.  Madeleine Palmer is a retired curator, living alone on the Isle of Wight.  One day to her door comes Frances Beale, a woman she has met only once, and who is now enjoying sudden success, late in life, as a popular novelist.  The progress of a single night comes fascinatingly to echo the hidden course of their lives.  The Breath of Life was first presented at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, in October 2002 starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

They have met once before. 

A conversation you wait a to have lifetime.

A result, which makes everything clear.


Two hours of verbal duelling ensue, Child and Morse are superbly expert at this. … Child catches the essence… Morse’s Madeleine is beautifully controlled.
Allana McLean, Canberra Times, ACT, 04/05

I’m sorry to say that you only have one performance of The Breath of Life left as the season finishes tonight. But if you do miss it I would seriously consider a trip to Western Australia; The Breath of Life is genuinely that good.
Myk Mykyta, Arts Breakfast, Radio Adelaide, SA, 04/05

[David Hare] knows how to give his actors parts they can get their teeth into, and in Madeleine’s case, it’s a part with fangs. Helen Morse, hands jammed in her pockets, barking impatiently at Frances’ middle class niceness, brings out the gallantry of Hare’s conceit of a character….she does pretty nicely with it.
Owen Richardson, The Sunday Age, VIC, 03/05

Morse exhibits a strong presence and is in control……while Child, very good as the needy Frances……it has a lot to say about truth and fiction, fame and fortune, aging and death.
Bryce Hallett, Sydney Morning Herald, NSW, 03/05


Frances: Kirsty Child

Madeleine: Helen Morse


Playwright: David Hare

Director: Kate Cherry 

Set Designer: Adam Gardnir 

Costume Designer: Harriet Oxley 

Lighting Designer: Jon Buswell