De Bernières' play that half the audience will never see

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The Independent Culture

It is one of the most common gripes of the theatre-goer – to be stuck behind a column or somebody with a voluminous hairstyle.

Half of the audience who will take their seats tomorrow for the first stage performance of Louis de Bernières' only play to date, however, will volunteer to have the ultimate restricted view by wearing blindfolds.

Southwark Playhouse's production of Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World will see 50 per cent of the audience experience the work as it was originally intended: as a radio play, actors creating smells and sounds that conjure up the South London environment in which the play is set.

"We thought we would try to stay as true to the experience as possible," said the show's producer, Paul Jellis, of the Bad Physics theatre company. He said the blindfolded portion of the audience would hear actors making sound effects and a "smellscape" created by frying bacon, brewing coffee, strong perfume and actors in clothes stinking of cigarette smoke.

The play premiered on BBC Radio 3 in 1999 and has never been performed in person before.

On Wednesday and Friday this week De Bernières, 56, will appear to narrate sections of the show.