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David Tennant returns to the West End in a new production of C. P. Taylor's acclaimed play Good

David Tennant. Photograph by Georgia Tennant.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TODAY (February 11, 2020), Dominic Cooke and Kate Horton launch their company Fictionhouse with a new West End production of C. P. Taylor’s Good, starring David Tennant, Fenella Woolgar and Elliot Levey.

Produced by Fictionhouse and Playful Productions, Good will run at the Playhouse Theatre for a strictly limited season – from Tuesday, October 6 to Saturday, December 19, 2020.

John Halder is a good man. But John Halder must adapt to survive. How is it possible to be a good person when things are falling apart?

As the world faces its Second World War, John Halder, a decent, intelligent, music-loving German professor, finds himself swept along in a movement that crescendos towards an unthinkable finale. Good is a warning for our times.

Olivier Award-winning director Dominic Cooke reimagines one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays with David Tennant returning to the West End to play Halder.

Speaking about making his West End return in Good, David Tennant said: “Dominic is one of the UK’s all-time great theatre directors. I am really inspired and delighted to finally get a chance to work with him, and especially on a wonderful play like C P Taylor’s Good – a fantastic bit of writing that is more pertinent and resonant now than it has ever been.”

David Tennant has worked extensively in theatre, television and film, winning numerous awards for his work including the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance and the Special Recognition Award at the NTAs in 2015. Tennant was last in the West End as Don Juan in Soho in 2017 directed by Patrick Marber. Other stage work includes Richard II and Hamlet (RSC), Much Ado About Nothing (West End) and Lobby Hero (Donmar Warehouse).

Tennant’s film credits include Mary Queen of Scots, You Me & Him, Mad to be Normal, Fright Night, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Bright Young Things. On television, he is best known for playing the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC’s classic series Doctor Who. Recent TV work includes Channel 4’s Deadwater Fell, Good Omens, Criminal and There She Goes.

Fenella Woolgar’s recent theatre credits include Slaves of Solitude (Hampstead Theatre), Welcome Home, Captain Fox! (Donmar Warehouse), Margaret Thatcher in Moira Buffini’s Handbagged (Tricycle and Vaudeville Theatres) and Circle Mirror Transformation, performed at the Rose Lipman Building in Haggerston as part of the Royal Court’s Theatre Local project. She also appeared opposite Sheridan Smith in the Old Vic’s 2012 production of Hedda Gabler, for which she won a 2013 Clarence Derwent Award.

Woolgar’s many other theatre credits include The Veil and Time and the Conways (National Theatre), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and Bring Me Sunshine (Royal Exchange, Manchester).

On TV, Woolgar is known for her role as Sister Hilda in Call The Midwife. Other credits include Inside No. 9, Quacks, Halrlots, Home Fires, Spies of Warsaw, Agatha Christie: Poirot and Doctor Who. She has also appeared in the films Mr Turner, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, St Trinian’s and Vera Drake.

Elliot Levey’s theatre credits include Snowflake (Kiln Theatre), Three Sisters (Almeida Theatre), Mary Stuart (Duke of York’s Theatre), Saint Joan and Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse), The Mighty Walzer (Royal Exchange, Manchester), The Ruling Class (Trafalgar Studios), Much Ado About Nothing (Wyndam’s Theatre) and multiple productions at the National Theatre including Danton’s Death, The Habit of Art, All’s Well That Ends Well, England People Very Nice, His Dark Materials and Henry IV Parts I & II.

Levey is well known for his role of Francesco Pazzi in Da Vinci’s Demons, and has also appeared on television in Life, Truth Seekers, Quiz, Man Down, Martin’s Close, Anne, State of the Union, Peaky Blinders, Press, Watergate, Black Earth Rising, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ripper Street, Jamaica Inn, Silent Witness and New Tricks. His film credits include Murder on the Orient Express, Denial, Fallen, Florence Foster Jenkins, The Lady in the Van, Philomena and The Queen.

C. P. Taylor’s plays include Schippel, The Plumber, And a Nightingale Sang, Bread and Butter, Walter, Black and White Minstrels, Allergy, Bandits and Bring Me Sunshine, plus Operation Elvis, The Rainbow Coloured Disco Dancer and You are my Hearts Delight for young people. Good was first produced by the RSC in 1981, playing at the Donmar Warehouse, Aldwych Theatre and subsequently on Broadway. A film featuring Viggo Mortensen, Jodie Whittaker and Jason Isaacs was released in 2008.

Good will be designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting design by Paule Constable, sound design by Paul Arditti and musical direction by Nigel Lilley.

Speaking about launching Fictionhouse with Good in the West End, Dominic Cooke said:

“I have known David Tennant since he was a student and have wanted to work with him ever since. He is one of our finest actors and has the ideal combination of wit, warmth and charisma to bring John Halder vividly to life. I can’t wait to start work with him and the amazing Elliot Levey and Fenella Woolgar on this dazzling play. CP Taylor’s modern classic about the perils of moral compromise is an apposite fable for our troubled times and it feels like an exciting first project for Fictionhouse.

“Ever since we left the Royal Court, the incredible Kate Horton and I have been plotting about how we could find a way to work together again. Fictionhouse has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be happier to be developing the successful partnership Kate and I built together at Sloane Square.”

Speaking about the launch of Fictionhouse, Kate Horton said:

“Dominic, David, Fenella, Elliot and the entire Good creative team are the best people I could imagine coming together to realise C.P. Taylor’s extraordinary, vital play. Good encompasses all we hope for with our work at Fictionhouse – brilliant and absorbing writing that illuminates our world, made by our greatest actors, directors and designers. As well as being a remarkable artist of rare and brilliant talent, Dominic Cooke is my favourite creative and business partner. I am overjoyed that our many happy years of collaborating are starting again with Fictionhouse.”

Fictionhouse is the newly formed commercial producing partnership of Dominic Cooke and Kate Horton. Their long and fruitful working relationship, which began at the Royal Shakespeare Company, developed into a celebrated partnership at the Royal Court Theatre. Whilst at the Royal Court they produced over 100 new plays, including the world premieres of Jerusalem, Constellations, Posh and UK premier of Clybourne Park all of which they transferred to the West End.

Their productions have been nominated for 210 major awards, winning 59 and their partnership saw the development and launch of an exciting new generation of playwrights including Mike Bartlett, Polly Stenham, Bola Agbaje, Nick Payne, Lucy Kirkwood and Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Tickets are available now at goodtheplay.com/.

Image: David Tennant. Photograph by Georgia Tennant.