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Casting announced for Yous Two at Hampstead Theatre

Casting news

CASTING has been announced for Georgia Christou’s Yous Two, which runs at Hampstead Theatre (Downstairs) from January 31 (previews from January 18) to February 24, 2018.

The line up includes Ali Barouti (as Fudge), Leah Harvey (Rachel), Shannon Tarbet (Billie) and Joseph Thompson (Jonny).

You’re always gonna turn into one of your parents aren’t you, it’s basically about choosing the one who’s slightly less mental.

Fifteen year old Billie has lived with her Dad in their little flat for as long as she can remember, but all that’s about to change. She’s got big plans – get Dad a job, sort out her grades, and live in a house with five bathrooms.

But one reckless night threatens to undo all her hard work and derail her ambitions…When it’s always been just the two of you, how easy is it to get out, or to let anyone else in?

Yous Two is a moving portrayal of the conflict between personal aspiration and familial responsibility, and what happens when those you should depend on need you more than you need them.

Ali Barouti, whose theatre credits include Goats at the Royal Court, has also appeared on screen in Tyrant, Patrick and Daytimer.

Leah Harvey’s theatre credits include The Tempest, Henry IV and Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse). Her film credits include Fighting with My Family, On The Road and Dustbin Baby.

Shannon Tarbet’s theatre credits include Rapture, Blister, Burn (Hampstead Theatre), Skåne (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs), Hotel (National Theatre), Circle Mirror Transformation, Spur Of The Moment (Royal Court), To Kill A Mockingbird, Mogadishu (Manchester Royal Exchange/Lyric Hammersmith), The Iphigenia Quartet, The Edge Of Our Bodies (Gate Theatre), Mary Shelley (Shared Experience), A View From The Bridge (Liverpool Playhouse) and 66 Books, The Flooded Grave (Bush Theatre).

Her screen credits include Rellik, Genius: Einstein, River, Virtuoso, Lewis, Inspector George Gently, Monroe and Silk (TV); Colette, Beast, Look Away and A Promise (film).

Joseph Thompson’s theatre credits include The Odd Couple (Perth Theatre), Earthquakes in London (Headlong Theatre tour), The Cherry Orchard, Framm, The Voysey Inheritance (National Theatre), Fuenteovejuna (Oran Mor Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Royal Exchange Theatre) and Undertow (Bristol Old Vic Studio).

His film and television credits include The Royal Matchmaker, Falling Water, Time After Time, Casualty, Elementary, Hollyoaks, She Stoops to Conquer, EastEnders, Trafalgar ER and Invitation to a Hanging.

Yous Two is directed by Chelsea Walker, who returns to Hampstead having been the assistant director for Mike Bartlett’s Wild last year. Winner of the RTST Director Award 2017, her theatre credits include Low Level Panic (Orange Tree Theatre), P’yonyang (Finborough Theatre) and Klippies (Southwark Playhouse).

Georgia Christou is a previous member of the Royal Court Young Writers’ Group. Yous Two is her debut full-length play which was originally shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award in 2015. She has also been selected as part of Channel 4’s 4Stories scheme and is writing an original single drama which will shoot in 2018.

Read more about Hampstead Theatre Downstairs productions.

BTA presents Bring It On - The Musical and Goodnight Mister Tom at Southwark Playhouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE British Theatre Academy’s 2018 Summer Season includes two productions – Bring It On – The Musical and Goodnight Mister Tom – at Southwark Playhouse.

Bring It On – The Musical runs in The Large from August 2 to September 1.

Bring It On – The Musical is a universal coming-of-age story that mixes competitive cheerleading, high school politics and teenage romance.

It is written by Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights), Tony Award winner Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q) Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Broadway lyricist Amanda Green (High Fidelity).

The production will be directed and choreographed by Ewan Jones.

However, before Bring It On – The Musical, the summer season opens in The Small with an adaptation of the beloved novel Goodnight Mister Tom, which runs from July 25 to August 25.

Written by Michelle Magorian and adapted by David Wood, the UK’s ‘National Children’s Dramatist’ (The Times), Goodnight Mister Tom is set during the dark and dangerous build-up to the Second World War.

The story follows sad young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and builds a remarkable and moving friendship with the elderly recluse Tom Oakley. All seems perfect until William is devastatingly summoned by his mother back to London.

Goodnight Mister Tom is a tale of two broken souls at very different ends of the age scale that celebrates the value of love and proves that friendship knows no barriers.

The BTA will also revive the acclaimed Broadway musical Spring Awakening The Musical, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Book and Score and four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, at The Stockwell Playhouse from Tuesday, August 14 to Sunday, August 19.

A rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater, based on the 1891 German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, it’s about the growing pains of teenagers discovering their sexuality. It will be directed by Dean Johnson (Godspell).

Closing the season is the record-breaking Broadway musical Chicago set in Prohibition-era Chicago with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. It will be staged at the world famous open air Minack Theatre, a breath-taking open-air auditorium at Porthcurno near Land’s End in Cornwall – from Monday, September 24 to Friday, September 28.

The 2018 season follows two successful summer residencies at the Ambassdors Theatre in the West End.

Casting announced for the Open Air Theatre's The Turn of the Screw

Casting news

REGENT’S Park Open Air Theatre have announced casting for The Turn of the Screw, a co-production with English National Opera, which plays from June 22 to June 30 as part of their 2018 season. Two casts will play on alternate performances.

The Prologue and role of Peter Quint will be shared by Elgan Llŷr Thomas and William Morgan.

Elgan Llŷr Thomas makes his English National Opera debut as a new ENO Harewood Artist having also covered the role of Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. A 2016/17 Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, his credits include The Elixir of Love and The Trial, with other credits including Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Mananan International Festival), Paul Bunyan (Welsh National Youth Opera) and Eugene Onegin (Garsington Opera). He is currently singing in The Barber of Seville with the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.

Previously for English National Opera, William Morgan has appeared in The Day After and Between Worlds (ENO at the Barbican) and Le Comte Ory (ENO’s Opera Works programme at Sadler’s Wells. Other notable credits include L’Orfeo (Bayerische Staatsoper), Hippolyte et Aricie (Glyndebourne), The Rake’s Progress (European Tour) and as Anthony in Sweeney Todd (Longborough Festival).

Miss Jessel will be played by Nadine Livingston and Rachael Lloyd.

Nadine Livingston, Scottish Opera Emerging Artist 2009-2011 has appeared as Mimi and Musetta in La bohème, Micaela in Carmen, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and appears as Nedda in their 2018 production of Pagliacci. Other notable credits include Eugene Onegin (Ryedale Festival), The Minotaur, Gloriana and The Ring Cycle (Royal Opera House), as well as extensive Oratorio and Concert appearances.

For English National Opera, Rachael Lloyd has appeared in The Day After, The Magic Flute, and as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado. Other notable credits include Carmen (Raymond Gubbay), Lucia di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly (Royal Opera House), Giulio Cesare (Glyndebourne) and A Little Night Music (Théâtre du Châtelet).

Mrs Grose will be played by Janis Kelly and Sarah Pring.

Janis Kelly has performed with English National Opera for over 30 years, and takes the role of Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro in Spring 2018. She received worldwide acclaim for her portrayal of the title role in Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna, which she performed at the Manchester International Festival (World Premiere), Sadler’s Wells, Toronto, Portland, in concert at the Royal Opera House and Teatro Real, Madrid, and is now available on CD.

Her other recent appearances include Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd (Welsh National Opera), Mrs Nixon in Nixon in China (Metropolitan Opera, New York/Omroep Muziek/English National Opera), Lady Billows in Albert Herring (Los Angeles Opera) and Hazel George in the World Premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American (Teatro Real, Madrid/English National Opera).

Sarah Pring has previously appeared with English National Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, Jenufa, and reprises her performance as Mrs Alexander in Satyagraha in February 2018. Other recent credits include Lady Bertram in Mansfield Park (The Grange Festival), Mother in Hansel and Gretel (Opera North), Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro (Welsh National Opera) and, at the Royal Opera House, as Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Giovanna in Rigoletto, and Annina in La traviata.

The role of the Governess will be played by Anita Watson and Rhian Lois.

Anita Watson has previously appeared as the Governess in The Turn of the Screw (La Fenice, Venice), Die Zaubrflöte and as Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (Royal Opera House), Don Giovanni (Australian Opera/Nederlandse Reisopera/Landestheater Salzburg/Scottish Opera/Teatro La Fenice, Venice), as Mimi in La bohème and as Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress (Teatro Municipal de Santiago).

Rhian Lois is an ENO Harewood Artist, taking the role of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro in Spring 2018. Previous English National Opera credits include Atalanta in Xerxes, Musetta in La bohème, Frasquita in Carmen, Papagena in The Magic Flute, Peter Grimes, Between Worlds and The Passenger. Other notable credits include Figaro Gets a Divorce (Grand Théâtre de Genève), Die Fladermaus (Welsh National Opera), Don Giovanni (Santa Fe) and The Magic Flute (Royal Opera House).

The roles of Flora and Miles will be announced in due course.

Artistic Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Timothy Sheader, directs The Turn of the Screw, which plays just 10 performances. ENO Mackerras Fellow Toby Purser conducts members of the ENO orchestra, and the production is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting design by Jon Clark, sound design by Nick Lidster for Autograph, and casting by ENO Head of Casting, Michelle Williams.

Barbara Houseman is the Season Associate Director (Voice and Text) for the 2018 season.

This story of unearthly encounters at a remote country house, and of a young governess desperate to protect her children, finds chilling new levels of suspense in this unique outdoor production of Benjamin Britten’s masterly reworking of Henry James’ classic novella.

Read more about the Open Air Theatre’s 2018 Season.

The Moderate Soprano transfers to the West End

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DAVID Hare’s critically acclaimed play The Moderate Soprano will receive its West End premiere next spring at the Duke of York’s Theatre, where it runs from April 12 (previews from April 5) to June 30, 2018.

Jeremy Herrin, whose celebrated production enjoyed a sold out run at Hampstead Theatre in 2015, will return to direct the play with brand new set and costume designs by the multi award-winning theatre and opera designer, Bob Crowley.

Olivier Award winners Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll will reprise the roles of Glyndebourne founder John Christie and soprano Audrey Mildmay. Further casting for the West End is still to be announced.

The two great passions in John Christie’s life were opera and a beautiful young soprano, Audrey Mildmay, with whom he was completely smitten. Together with his formidable drive, they fuelled what many first saw as a monumental folly in the South Downs. Glyndebourne was triumphantly born amidst stiff manhattans, rolling lawns and the sound of sheep from across the HaHa. It was to become revered the world over.

David Hare’s play is the story of an intense love affair and the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and the impending Second World War.

David Hare said: “Few people know the extraordinary story of how an eccentric English schoolmaster bumped accidentally into three refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and formed one of the world’s great opera houses in the 1930s in the middle of the English countryside. But even fewer know that Glyndebourne’s true founder was John Christie’s adored wife, Audrey Mildmay, whom he called ‘the moderate soprano.”

Gus Christie said: “I am delighted that David Hare’s play about the origins of Glyndebourne, which sheds light on my grandparents’ extraordinary vision and the creative tensions that existed in pulling it off, is coming to the West End in the Spring”.

Roger Allam’s extensive theatre work includes Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Seagull, Les Miserables (RSC); Limehouse and Privates on Parade (Donmar Warehouse – Olivier Award 2002 for Best Actor); The Moderate Soprano, Seminar and The Giant (Hampstead Theatre); The Tempest and Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (Globe Theatre – Olivier Award 2011 for Best Actor); La Cage Aux Folles (Duke of York’s Theatre); The Way of the World, Democracy, Afterlife, Lear, The Cherry Orchard, Summerfolk, Troilus and Cressida – Clarence Derwent Award, Money – Olivier Award 2000 for Best Supporting Actor and Albert Speer (National Theatre); and Boeing Boeing (Comedy Theatre).

Nancy Carroll’s numerous theatre credits include Young Marx (Bridge Theatre); Woyzeck (Old Vic); Closer and The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse); The Magistrate, After the Dance – Olivier Award 2011 for Best Actress, Natasha Richardson Award at 2010 Evening Standard Awards, The Enchantment, The Man of Mode, The Voysey Inheritance, The False Servant and The Talking Cure (National Theatre); Twelfth Night, Henry IV parts 1 and 2 – Ian Charleson Awards Commendation, As You Like It, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and A Winter’s Tale (RSC); and Arcadia (Duke of York’s Theatre).

Jeremy Herrin is Artistic Director of Headlong, for which he has directed Labour of Love (Noël Coward Theatre), People, Places & Things (National Theatre/West End/UK Tour/New York), The House They Grew Up In (Chichester Festival Theatre), Common (National Theatre), Junkyard (Bristol Old Vic/Theatr Clwyd/Rose Theatre Kingston), Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (UK Tour), The Absence of War (UK Tour) and The Nether (at the Royal Court and in the West End).

David Hare is a playwright and film-maker. He has written over thirty stage plays which include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, South Downs, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss and The Red Barn. In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were his.

The Moderate Soprano is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon for Playful Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions, Karl Sydow and Greg Ripley-Duggan for Hampstead Theatre, in association with Raymond Gubbay and Bob Bartner.

Tickets: From £15 – available from the box office on 0844 871 7623 or online at themoderatesoprano.com/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm (first Thursday matinee on April 19).

Also at the Duke of York’s Theatre: the West End transfer of the Almeida’s production of Ink (until January 6) and the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s acclaimed Almeida production of Mary Stuart (January 15 to March 31, 2018).

Full casting announced for Hampstead Theatre's Dry Powder

Dry Powder Photo by SWD

Casting news

FULL casting has been announced for the UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ breathtakingly witty and virtuosic comedy Dry Powder, which runs at Hampstead Theatre from February 1 (previews from January 26) to March 3, 2018.

Joining previously announced Hayley Atwell (as Jenny), Tom Riley (Seth) and Aidan McArdle (Rick) will be Joseph Balderrama as Jeff.

Joseph Balderrama’s recent theatre credits include The President’s Men (NT at the Vaudeville), Drones, Baby, Drones (Arcola Theatre), Labyrinth (Hampstead Theatre), The Rubber Room (Old Vic New Voices), The White House Murder Case (Orange Tree Theatre), The Miser (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Wet Weather Cover (King’s Head, Islington and West End).

His screen credits include Stan and Ollie, The Current War, Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, Spectre, Meet the Firm: Revenge in Rio, Jack and Jill and The Nutcracker: The Untold Story (film); Press, Snatch, War on Drugs, Benidorm, Capital, I Live With Models, Not Going Out, The Armada: 12 Days To Save England, Episodes and Holby City (TV).

Directed by Anna Ledwich, Dry Powder explores the vision, the vulnerability, and the vilification of those shaping – and skewing – the economy.

Read more about Dry Powder.

Casting confirmed for The Divide at The Old Vic

Casting news

CASTING has been confirmed for the London transfer of Alan Ayckbourn’s new play The Divide, which runs at The Old Vic from February 1 to February 10, 2018.

The line up includes Clare Burt (as Hork), Jake Davies (Elihu), Erin Doherty (Soween), Thusitha Jayasundera (Kest), Richard Katz (Conrad), Joanne McGuinness (Axi), Sophie Melville (Sassa), Clare Lawrence Moody (Desollia), Weruche Opia (Giella), Martin Quinn (Fergo), Letty Thomas (Grosh) and Finty Williams (Chayza).

Previously Posted: The Divide, a new play by Alan Ayckbourn, runs at The Old Vic from February 1 to February 10, 2018, following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer.

The Divide is a tale for our own turbulent times that unflinchingly explores a dystopian society of repression, insurrection and forbidden love. Directed by Annabel Bolton, an associate director of The Old Vic, it will be presented in two parts.

The Divide is set in the aftermath of a deadly contagion which, a century from now, has decimated the English population and rendered contact between men and women fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive Preacher, an unthinkable solution is enforced. Separated by the Divide, the adult survivors are segregated by gender, as men wear white as a mark of their purity, and women – still infected – are clothed in black as a sign of their sin.

Brother and sister Elihu (Jake Davies) and Soween (Erin Doherty) grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for Giella (Weruche Opia), the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution.

The Divide is a vision of a dystopian future defined by brutal repression and forbidden love.

The Divide runs at the King’s Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival from August 8 to August 20, 2017, before opening at The Old Vic in January 2018.

The Old Vic has a long history with the International Festival, having performed at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and many times in the following decade. This collaboration with EIF is the first of several brokered by The Old Vic to mark the bicentenary of the theatre in 2018.

Matthew Warchus said: “Alan Ayckbourn is of course famous for his domestic tragi-comedies. It is perhaps overlooked the extent to which he is a great and perpetual experimenter with form. He has plays which run backward through time, where an exit from one play becomes an entrance into another, where one beginning has sixteen possible endings, even plays which take place simultaneously on two different stages. Now as he turns 78 he delivers an extraordinary piece of writing which arguably may not even be a play – The Divide – described on its title page as “a dramatic narrative for voices”.

“The Old Vic was in residence 70 years ago at the very first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and The Old Vic celebrates its 200th birthday in 2018 and it’s with great pleasure and hugely fitting that we celebrate our respective milestones by collaborating again to co-produce the world premiere of Alan’s ambitious and exciting new work, .”

Jake Davies’ recent theatre credits include Beautiful Thing (Arts Theatre), Barbarians (Soho Theatre), Yen (Royal Court/Manchester Royal Exchange), Friend or Foe, The Good Person of Szechuan (Mercury Theatre Colchester) and Something For The Winter (Southwark Playhouse). Screen credits include Black Mirror, The Missing II, Silent Witness, Cyber Bully, A Mother’s Son, Call the Midwife, Holby City and Bad Education (TV); Ghost Stories, Pregnant Pause, X+Y, Leave to Remain and Vengeance (film).

Erin Doherty’s theatre credits include Lights Out (Royal Court), Wish List (Royal Court/Manchester Royal Exchange), Junkyard, The Glass Menagerie (UK Tour), Who Cares (The Lowry) and Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic). She is best known for her role in the television series Call the Midwife.

Weruche Opia’s theatre credits include The Trial (Young Vic), Liberian Girl (Royal Court), The Waiting Room, For Coloured Girls, The Inheritors (National Theatre Nigeria) and Shakespeare Sonnets (Shakespeare’s Globe). On screen, she is best known for playing Cleopatra in the television series and film Bad Education. Other television credits include Inside No.9, Banana, Suspects, Top Boy and The Bill. She has also appeared in the film When Love Happens.

The cast also includes Clare Burt (as Hork), Thusitha Jayasundera (Kest), Richard Katz (Conrad), Joanne McGuiness (Axi), Sophie Melville (Sassa), Clare Lawrence Moody (Desollia), Martin Quinn (Fergo), Letty Thomas (Ensemble), Sian Thomas (Older Soween) and Finty Williams (Chayza).

2017 marks Alan Ayckbourn’s 56th year as a theatre director and his 58th as a playwright. His work has been translated into over 35 languages, and has been performed on stage and television throughout the world. He is perhaps best known for his plays Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests.

The Divide is directed by Annabel Bolton, Associate Director of The Old Vic, designed by Laura Hopkins and composed by hristopher Nightingale, with lighting by David Plater, sound by Bobby Aitken and video design by Ash J Woodward.

NB: Casting is confirmed for Edinburgh International Festival. Casting for The Old Vic performances in 2018 is subject to change.

The Old Vic dates: January 30 to February 10, 2018.

The world premiere of Girl from the North Country runs at The Old Vic from July 12 to October 7, 2017.

Rupert Graves to make directorial debut at the White Bear Theatre

Rupert Graves

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

RUPERT Graves will make his debut as a director with the world premiere of The Ungrateful Biped.

A one-man play starring and adapted by Philip Goodhew from Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, it runs at the White Bear Theatre from Tuesday, January 30 to Saturday, February 17, 2018.

Question: “What does a civilised man drivel on about with most satisfaction?” Answer: “Himself”.

Immured in a horrid basement flat in the hinterlands of London, an anonymous Man creates a video blog. Haunted by disturbing memories and nurturing an abiding malice towards all humanity, including himself, he embarks on a forensic analysis of his “underground soul”.

Sick, spiteful, and ugly, yet convinced of his own genius, he is tormented by the belief that his intelligence is a disease which, in an irrational world, renders him less valuable than an insect.

Bitter, alienated and crippled with inertia, the Man shamelessly revels in the depths of degradation he has plumbed in order to validate his existence and demands the right to screw up his life as he see fit. After all, is he really any different to the rest of us?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky created the underground Man in 1864. In doing so, he created one of the most paradoxical, self-lacerating and mesmerising characters in literature; the first existentialist anti-hero.

Rupert Graves, known for his roles in A Room with a View, Maurice, The Madness of King George, The Forsyte Saga and as DI Lestrade in the BBC TV series Sherlock said: “Philip and I have known each other for a very long time. I enjoyed working on a film he directed me in and like his writing so I was intrigued when he told me he was writing a play and asked to read it. I loved it.

“When he asked if I was interested in directing, I was a little nervous as this would be my first time directing. It took me nearly 10 minutes to say yes. It’s a great piece of work. We have done a lot of work together over the last months, refining and honing the script. Philip is doing a great job getting under the skin of the character and revealing his human face. Knowing each other for so long is a definite bonus as it gives us a shortcut in our communication and we can really dig into the task without dancing around each other’s egos. I can’t wait to get it up and running.”

Philip Goodhew

As a actor, Philip Goodhew was in the original award-winning West End production of Another Country, playing a major role opposite Daniel Day Lewis. His 1996 debut film as a writer/director, Intimate Relations starring Julie Walters and Rupert Graves, saw Rupert winning Best Actor at the Montreal Film Festival. He said: “I have had this play at the back of my mind for many, many years, and wrote an initial version when I was really too young to come to grips with the complexities of the book.

“I always wanted to play the character as I identified strongly with it (which is quite an admission) but shelved the idea when I started writing and directing films. The story would never fully go away and nagged at me on and off for a couple of decades. I finally wrote it last year. Rupert is an old friend: we have worked together a couple of times, firstly acting on a film called Good and Bad at Games and much later I directed him in my film Intimate Relations with Julie Walters.

“He asked to read it, and did so immediately I gave him the script. His enthusiasm led me to ask him if he would like to direct and I am pleased to say he jumped at it. I am delighted he did as he is a fantastic director; a real stickler for detail with a great understanding of the work. His vast experience working with great directors has obviously paid off.”

The Ungrateful Biped is produced by Milburn Browning Associates in association with the White Bear Theatre.

Tickets: £16, £12 concs including booking fee. To book, call the box office on 0333 012 4963 or visit www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7pm; Sunday at 4pm.

The Grinning Man - production images released

The Grinning Man

Casting news

PRODUCTION images have been released from The Grinning Man. To view them and to listen to musical numbers from the show recorded by Matt Lucas, Kelsey Grammer, Hannah Waddingham, Harry Enfield, Alexander Armstrong and Louise Dearman, click here.

Previously Posted: Full casting has been announced for the critically acclaimed production of The Grinning Man. Directed by Tony award-winning Tom Morris and based on the classic Victor Hugo novel, The Man Who Laughs, it runs at Trafalgar Studios from December 6, 2017 to February 17, 2018.

Sean Kingsley (Les Misérables, Billy Elliot) and Ewan Black (Sleeping Beauty, The Merchant of Venice), who previously co-starred in the award-winning Bristol Old Vic production of the musical, have been confirmed to play Ursus and Trelaw in the West End premiere.

Sanne den Besten (Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!), new to the cast, will play Dea, a blind woman who is the childhood friend and closest companion to the show’s title character Grinpayne.

As previously announced Louis Maskell (My Fair Lady, West Side Story), who was recently nominated for Best Performance in a Musical for his role in the Bristol production, will again lead the cast in the title role of Grinpayne, the show’s disfigured hero; and Julian Bleach (St George in the Dragon, Shockheaded Peter, The Tempest), who also starred in the Bristol season, plays the role of the deliciously corrupt court clown Barkilphedro.

Joining the cast are Mark Anderson (The Toxic Avenger), Julie Atherton (Avenue Q), Jim Kitson (Much Ado About Nothing), Sophia Mackay (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds her Chameleon Skin) and Amanda Wilkin (Hamlet). Completing the company are James Alexander-Taylor, Christina Bloom, Jonathan Cobb, Leo Elso, Claire-Marie Hall, and Loren O’Dair.

The Grinning Man is a romantic gothic musical love story, set in a fantastical world with a dark heart, and brought to life by Kneehigh writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase) and “powered by an outstanding score” (Sunday Times) by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler. Macabre, magical and visually astonishing, this ultimately elating love story is a distinctive delight.

Read more about The Grinning Man.

Imaginationship - Finborough Theatre

Imaginationship

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ORIGINALLY seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant 2017 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, the world premiere of Imaginationship by Sue Healy plays at the Finborough Theatre on Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees from January 7 to January 23, 2018.

Sex is nothing. It’s relationships that’s a poison. It’s love what does the damage.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. 59-year-old Ginnie attempts to seduce her unrequited love, the nymphomaniac Brenda. Attila is from Hungary but has ended up scraping an existence in Yarmouth – and pursues Melody who is obsessed with her cold and distant evening-class tutor, Tony.

Power-plays and relationships clash until a seduction too far leads to mass murder.

Set in a marginalised Brexit town, Imaginationship explores obsession, sex addiction, and the devastating effect of imbalanced relationships, not least between immigrants and locals, London and the regions.

The cast includes Joanna Bending (as Melody), Jilly Bond (Ginnie Atkins), George Howard (Gediminas), John Sackville (Baz Canham), Bart Suavek (Attila), Patience Tomlinson (Brenda Sullivan) and Rupert Wickham (Tony).

Presented by Two’s Company in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Imaginationship is directed by Tricia Thorns and designed by Tara Marricdale, with lighting design by Richard Haines and sound design by Eugene Sully.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.

Also at the Finborough Theatre: Jerome K. Jerome’s The Passing of the Third Floor Back (until December 22) and Israel Zangwill’s classic refugee drama The Melting Pot (until December 19, 2017).

Grace Molony, Joshua James and Joseph Marcell join cast of Lady Windermere’s Fan

Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Casting news

CLASSIC Spring has announced full casting for Kathy Burke’s forthcoming production of Lady Windermere’s Fan, which runs at the Vaudeville Theatre from January 22 (previews from January 12) to April 7, 2018.

Joining previously announced Samantha Spiro (as Mrs Erlynne), Kevin Bishop (Lord Darlington) and Jennifer Saunders (Duchess of Berwick) are Grace Molony (Lady Windermere), Joshua James (Lord Windermere), Joseph Marcell (Lord Lorton) and Ami Metcalf (Agatha and Rosalie).

Completing the cast are Victoria Blunt, Natasha Magigi, Charlie Mulliner, Siân Polhill-Thomas, Matthew Darcy, Roger Evans, David O’Reilly, Benedict Salter and Gary Shelford.

Rising star Grace Molony, who graduated from LAMDA this year, recently won Best Actress in The Stage Debut Awards 2017 for her performance in The Country Girls at Chichester Festival Theatre. Next year, she will appear in the feature film Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.

Joshua James’ recent stage credits include King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe and Joe Wright’s Life of Galileo at the Young Vic. And for his performance in Young Chekhov at the National Theatre, he won a commendation at the Ian Charleson Awards.

Joseph Marcell has most recently been cast in the new Neil Gaiman adaptation of Anansi Boys for BBC Radio 4. His other credits include the title role in King Lear (Shakespeare’s Globe), A Freeman of Colour (Lincoln Center, New York) and the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Ami Metcalf played a teenage Kathy Burke in Sky 1’s series Little Crackers and Walking and Talking, a semi-fictionalised look at Kathy’s life. Her other television credits include Call the Midwife and Upstairs, Downstairs.

The production will be broadcast live to cinemas across the UK on Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

Read more about Lady Windermere’s Fan.

Lady Windermere’s Fan is part of Classic Spring’s year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the Vaudeville Theatre. Read more.

Image: By Marc Brenner.