Vintage Adventures: Late Flowering Lust

26 March 2020

We may not be on stage but this has meant we’ve had the chance to flick through our #VintageAdventures archives and land upon Matthew Bourne's Late Flowering Lust (1993)  filmed twenty seven years ago for the BBC. 

Read Matt's introduction to the Late Flowering Lust below and see if you're able to spot him amongst other New Adventures legends in the video above...

Matthew Bourne's introduction to Late Flowering Lust: 

"What a glorious summer it was in 1993 when we made this unique and beautiful film starring the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne.  Late Flowering Lust was Nigel’s idea born out of his love for the poetry of Sir John Betjeman which had been wittily set to music by the brilliant Jim Parker.

It was also Nigel’s idea, along with his partner, Trevor Bentham, to ask a quirky little dance company called Adventures In Motion Pictures (the former name of New Adventures) to collaborate on the project and for me to choreograph my first and only original film for television (something that is extremely rare even today).

The film was to be directed by David Hinton and was shot on location at beautiful Bennington Lordship in Stevenage (also recently used extensively in the BBC’s Summer of Rockets by Poliakoff).

We rehearsed both in the studio and at the location so that we could make real use of things that you could never recreate on stage (a swimming pool, rolling hills, concrete steps, tennis court, golf course etc) so it was the closest I’ve ever come to creating something akin to a musical film shot on location like On The Town or The Sound Of Music.

It was truly a wonderful creative experience made all the more poignant now with the loss of not only Sir Nigel, but also the actor who played our host, Jonathan Cecil and of course two of our beloved New Adventures dancers Simon Murphy (who died just over a year after this was made of an AIDS related illness) and the legendary Scott Ambler.

It was also one of the last things that I did as a dancer and you can spot that other New Adventures legend such as Etta Murfitt as one of the “Bright Young Things” along with Ally Fitzpatrick, Andrew George, Maxine Fone and Rosie Allen.

I have never seen anything like this film on television either before or since. It really is a completely unique blend of music, poetry, dance, actor/dancers and barely a word spoken for one hour (apart from Nigel’s voice over of Betjeman’s musicalised poems).

It’s also funny and nostalgic, gorgeous to look at and ultimately very touching. Still as original as it was 27 years ago... Enjoy!"

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