Blondel - casting announced
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
ABI FINLEY, the “Tomboy Maria” from How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, has won the part of Fiona in Tim Rice’s revival of Blondel, which opens at the Pleasance Theatre on November 23, 2006 (previews from November 21).
Hollyoak‘s Chris Grierson will play Blondel, with Matt Harrop as Prince John, Mark Inscoe as King Richard, David Paul West as the evil Leopold, Duke of Austria, and Napoleon Ryan as the ruthless assassin.
Previously Posted: A revival of Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver’s musical Blondel will run for a limited season – from November 23 (previews from November 21) to December 31, 2006 – at Islington’s Pleasance Theatre.
Following the successful West End revival of Evita, Oscar winning lyricist Rice has reworked and revamped the musical he wrote in 1983 with the late Stephen Oliver.
Described as fast, funny and lyrically brilliant, the new version will be shorter and sharper than the original and although set in the 12th century, addresses pertinent modern issues such as celebrity, war, politics, the monarchy, race and the difficultly of getting your songs played.
In the reign of Richard The Lionheart, Blondel is an unfairly (in his view) unappreciated court musician, desperate for fame and fortune until, that is, he realises there are more important things in life, such as honesty, bravery and Fiona – the woman he loves.
But Blondel is caught up in the political crises of the time: the leader of the country has taken the nation into a dodgy war in the Middle East; his deputy is a dishonest and lecherous man who is after his job; fame and celebrity seem to be the watchwords of the day; illegal immigrants are treated badly; and indiscriminate killers stalk the whole of Europe.
Blondel premiered at the Theatre Royal Bath in September 1983. It subsequently ran in Manchester before opening at London’s Old Vic Theatre in November of the same year. And in January 1984, it transferred to the West End’s Aldwych Theatre where it ran until the following September.
The original cast featured Paul Nicholas (as Blondel), David Burt, Simon Bowman, Stephen Tate and Maria Friedman.
For the new production, Rice is collaborating with director Patrick Wilde (whose credits include This Life, As If, Monarch of the Glen and Get Real) to create a Blondel for a smaller ensemble cast at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington rather than a larger West End venue.
As yet, no casting has been announced.