THE world premiere of The Remains of the Day, a tale of “love, loss and regret”, is heading to the Salisbury Playhouse stage this month.

The production is based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and runs in the Main House from Tuesday, April 30 until May 11.

This is the first time the literary masterpiece has been brought to the stage. The novel has been adapted for the theatre by Salisbury novelist and playwright Barney Norris, and is directed by Christopher Haydon.

Barney is delighted to be returning to Salisbury Playhouse and says: “I’m utterly thrilled about bringing this one to Salisbury.

It is a story that I think could not be more evocative of our community and our place.

“Obviously, this is a story that passes through Salisbury. There’s a whole section of Ishiguro’s book that is set in Salisbury,” admits Barney.

“Although, I confess, I cut that bit from the play, sorry. None-the-less, it is a South West story, imbued with a sensibility that I think people are going to really recognise.”

“It is a love story that is preoccupied with the question of what a life really amounts to, and the question I think all of my work is interested in, which is how to live your life well,” explains Barney.

“The Remains of the Day is a story about a man who committed himself to one cause all his life at the expense of everything else. Then it is proved to have been the wrong horse [that he backed]. He looks back on his life.”

The production stars Niamh Cusack and Stephen Boxer, who Barney has wanted to work with for a number of years.

Barney says: “I’ve been wanting to work with Niamh Cusack nearly all my life. She was the first famous person I ever saw. When I was six-years-old, we went on holiday to the village where they filmed Heartbeat and I was really excited to see a famous person. I saw her from a distance.”

Niamh Cusack, who plays Mrs Benn with Stephen Boxer as Stevens the butler, a Darlington Hall housekeeper, is looking forward to returning to Salisbury Playhouse in the production, which looks back on the pair’s relationship.

“It is a story about unrequited love,” says Niamh. “In the version Barney has made of the book I think she is someone who is ultimately at peace with where she has got to.

“Her journey is quite a subtle one but it is quite moving. I love playing her, she is a brave, funny and life-full character.”

“The marriage of Ishiguro’s novel and Ishiguro’s sensibilities with Barney was a really good match. I felt it was honouring the book and yet it was a play in itself. It absolutely honours the book and I love that.”

The Remains of the Day is an Out of Joint and Royal and Derngate Production in association with Oxford Playhouse. Kate Wasserberg, the artistic director of Out of Joint said the company was delighted to be working with Royal and Derngate and Oxford Playhouse, and Barney and Chris, to adapt the classic tale of “love, loss and regret”.

For tickets call 01722 320 333.