George Dillon

Epitaph for George Dillon

Epitaph for George Dillon is an early John Osborne play, one of two he wrote in collaboration with Anthony Creighton (the other is Personal Enemy). It was written before Look Back in Anger, the play which made Osborne’s career, but opened a year after in Oxford in 1957 and moved to London’s Royal Court theatre, where Look Back in Anger had debuted on May 8 1956. It moved to New York shortly afterwards and garnered three Tony Award nominations.


The play tells the story of Kate Elliot’s unhappy suburban South London family and the domestic havoc wrought when she decides to adopt George Dillon as a surrogate son.

It tackles typical Osborne themes, including religion (and Osborne’s hatred thereof), vegetarianism, the casual deception of everyday life and scorn of the theatre. In common with Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger, George Dillon is an intelligent man unable find his place in the world.

2005 London revival

A successful West End revival of the play ran at the Comedy Theatre from September 27 2005 until January 14 2006, directed by Peter Gill and starring Joseph Fiennes, Francesca Annis and Anne Reid.

It also featured Geoffrey Hutchings, Zoe Tapper, Dorothy Atkinson, Stephen Greif, Hugh Simon and Alex Dunbar.

By a coincidence (or not) Annis was the long-standing partner of Joseph Fiennes’ brother Ralph Fiennes.

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