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Catch-22 - Richmond Theatre and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CATCH-22, Joseph Heller’s war time satire directed by two-time Obie Award-winning and Drama Desk nominated director Rachel Chavkin, will visit Richmond Theatre (June 24 to June 28, 2014) as part of a national tour.

The novel, published in 1961, has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. It is often cited as one of the greatest novels of all time, ranking 11th in the 2003 BBC survey The Big Read.

Set in the closing months of World War II, a bombardier named Yossarian is trapped in the absurd world of an inescapable war. Frantic and furious as thousands of people he has never met try to kill him, Yossarian is stalked and thwarted by the merciless Catch-22 (from which, as many will know, the famous phrase originated).

Rachel Chavkin is the founding Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based devising ensemble the TEAM. Since its founding in 2004, Chavkin has directed/co-authored ten TEAM works, including Mission Drift (Winner 2011 Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize, Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel Award), which recently completed a sold-out run at London’s National Theatre, Architecting (Winner Scotsman Fringe First 2008), and most recently RoosevElvis at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Starr, which will tour later this year.

Outside of TEAM, she has directed numerous productions including Three Pianos (A.R.T, New York, Obie Award 2010) and Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 (Ars Nova, Obie Award and Drama Desk nomination 2013).

She said: “Heller’s stage adaptation really captures the heart of the book, and this production will aim to further breathe that air: absurd comedy, deadpan horror, and an amazing hero/antihero at the centre. Audiences can expect period music, some jitterbugging, purgatory antics, and moments of quiet at the end of the world. And humour of course: Heller’s, and mine.”

Catch-22 is presented by Northern Stage, whose Artistic Director Lorne Campbell said:

“It’s the story of a man caught in the belly of the beast, of an individual looking at the system that runs the world around him and recognising it for the lunacy that it is. The book says some incredibly prescient and relevant things about the corrupting influence of capitalism on human endeavour and about the tension between what you have to do and what you know to be right. It’s one of those rare pieces of truly great art that manages to be complex and simple at the same time.”

Catch-22 is designed by Jon Bausor, whose theatre credits include Silence (RSC, Filter), The Homecoming (RSC), Lord of The Flies (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), KURSK (Sound and Fury/Young Vic; Evening Standard Best Design nomination), Ghost Stories (Lyric Hammersmith, West End) and James and the Giant Peach (Octagon, Bolton, Manchester Evening News Awards Best Design nomination).

Assistant director of Catch-22 is Maria Crocker, sound design is by Scott Twynholm and lighting design by Charles Balfour.

The cast includes Daniel Ainsworth, Philip Arditti, Geoff Arnold, Victoria Bewick, Simon Darwen, Michael Hodgson, Liz Kettle, Christopher Price and David Webber.

Tickets: £35.40 – £6.90. To book, call the box office on 0844 871 7651 or visit

Times: 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

The tour will also visit Liverpool Playhouse (May 27 – 31), Nuffield Theatre, Southampton (June 3 – 7), Oxford Playhouse (June 10 – 14) and Derby Theatre (June 17 – 21).