Last Country House, The

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20040223One of the last great country houses to be built in this country is celebrated today.|The play imagines the building of Castle Drogo in Devon from the point of view of a fictional builder, Will, who worked on it for the twenty years of its construction.|Castle Drogo was the brainchild of two men: Edwin Lutyens, the greatest architect of his day, and Julius Drewe, the founder of Home and Colonial Stores.|Drewe came from an ordinary family but by middle age had made himself into the quintessential Victorian Gentleman.|His fortune came from imported tea.|He traced his ancestry back to medieval Devon and set about building a family seat there, the extraordinary fantasy Castle Drogo.|Work started in 1910, just as Lutyens was embarking on the most successful period of his career.|Built on a precipice high above Dartmoor it resembles a medieval fortress.|Inside it boasts every amenity the Twentieth Century could offer.|Despite rising costs, personal tragedy and a World War the building was finally completed in 1930, and there is no other building like it anywhere.|The play contrasts the pretensions of the self-made man with the simplicity and hard working nature of the builder.|'Who does history remember?' asks Will.|'The men who built it or the men who paid for it? Neither Drewe nor Lutyens knew anything about building, the place leaks like a bloody sieve.' In the end the play chronicles the passing of an age - an age when class distinction was all important, a distinction whose importance was in decline even as the dust clouds of World War One began to settle.|Robin Pirongs....Will David Timson....Lutyens Robert List....Drewe Directed by Peter Leslie Wild