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Daytona - Maureen Lipman stars

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MAUREEN Lipman and Harry Shearer will join Oliver Cotton in the West End transfer of his play, Daytona. Directed by David Grindley, Daytona runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a strictly limited eight week season – from July 7 (previews from June 30) to August 23, 2014.

Daytona received its world premiere at London’s Park Theatre in 2013 and this production marks the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s first collaboration with an off West End theatre venue.

Described as gripping, funny, poignant and full of mystery, Daytona is a play with not one but two love stories at its heart.

Set in New York in 1986, Joe and Elli share a love of ballroom dancing and are practising their routines for the next big competition. Despite constant bickering, the love they have shared for nearly fifty years is clear. Then one night, out of the blue, Joe’s long-lost brother Billy bursts back into their lives with an extraordinary story to tell.

Making her Theatre Royal Haymarket debut, Maureen Lipman reprises her role of Elli. Her extensive theatre credits include When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre), A Little Night Music (Menier Chocolate Factory/West End), Aladdin (Old Vic), Old Money and Peggy For You (Hampstead Theatre) and Re-Joyce (West End/national tour/USA). She has also appeared many times at the National Theatre – in Oklahoma!, Macbeth, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Jumpers, The Front Page and School for Scandal.

Her screen work includes Ladies of Letters, Skins, He Kills Coppers, Sensitive Skin, About Face, All at No. 20, Agony, Cold Enough for Snow and Eskimo Day (TV); Bridge of Lies, Flight of Fancy, The Pianist, Carry on Columbus, Educating Rita and Gumshoe (film).

Making his West End stage debut and reprising the role of Joe, Harry Shearer has provided character voices for The Simpsons since it began in 1987, most notably as Mr Burns, Principle Skinner and Ned Flanders. He co-created, co-wrote and co-starred as bassist Derek Smalls in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap.

This is Spinal Tap was, in fact, a collaboration with Christopher Guest and friends whom Shearer has also worked with on many other projects including A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration. Previously, as a theatre performer, his credits include Loose Lips, Tinkle Time and Accomplice, all in the US.

On television, his work includes the series Nixon’s the One which was broadcast on Sky Arts earlier this year. He was also a cast member and writer of Saturday Night Live. His other film work includes The Fisher King, Godzilla and The Truman Show. In 2010, Shearer wrote, directed and produced The Big Uneasy, a multi award-winning documentary feature investigating the actual causes of the 2005 flooding of New Orleans.

His radio show, Le Show, has been broadcast throughout the US on National Public Radio every week for the past thirty years.

Oliver Cotton’s writing credits include Wet Weather Cover (King’s Head Theatre/Arts Theatre), The Incredible Journey of Sir Francis Younghusband and The Enoch Show (Royal Court), Scrabble (National Theatre) and Man Falling Down (Shakespeare’s Globe). He has also written for the screen, including A Touch of Frost and Diamond Geezer (TV); Singing for Stalin, Peeping Through, Deadline, Sofa and The English Game (film).

Cotton also has an extensive list of credits as an actor on stage, television and film including Passion Play (Duke of York’s Theatre), A Flea in her Ear (Old Vic), The Syndicate and The Grapes of Wrath (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (Shakespeare’s Globe).

David Grindley’s more recent UK directing credits include Journey’s End (West End/on tour/Broadway), Kafka’s Dick, Pygmalion, The American Plan and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Theatre Royal Bath), Outings (Guilded Balloon), A Steady Rain (Bath Ustinov Studio), Our Boys (Duchess Theatre), Copenhagen (Sheffield Theatres) and Six Degrees of Separation (Old Vic).

Grindley’s productions have also been seen at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, on Broadway and on tour both nationally and internationally.

Daytona is produced in the West End by TRH Productions, Lee Dean and Jenny Topper in association with Park Theatre.

Tickets: £17 – £55 (includes booking fee). Concessions available. To book, call the box office on 0207 930 8800 or visit www.trh.co.uk/. A limited number of Day Seats at £10 each will go on sale from the box office, in person only, from 10am on the day of performance.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

Fatal Attraction continues at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until June 21, 2014.