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Taking Part - Criterion Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CHARLOTTE Gwinner will direct Obi Abili and Paul Moriarty in the world premiere of Adam Brace’s two-hander Taking Part, part of the Playing the Games season at the Criterion Theatre.

Lucky Henry, a Congolese security guard, has set his sights on representing his country at the 2012 Olympics. Only one problem; he’s a terrible swimmer and his Russian coach wants to fly home on the first day of training. But everyone loves an underdog – think Eddie the Eagle or Eric the Eel…

Taking Part is described as a funny, timely tale of true grit, self belief and canny opportunism.

Obi Abili (Henry), who played Paul in Six Degrees of Separation at The Old Vic and Iarbus in Dido Queen of Carthage at National Theatre, has also been seen in Play House (Orange Tree Theatre), The Brothers Size (Young Vic) and Angels in America (Headlong Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith).

His screen credits include Strikeback II, Foyle’s War, Kingdom, Afterlife, Moses Jones and Ten Days to War (TV); World War Z and Gambit (film).

Paul Moriarty’s (Grigory) more recent theatre credits include Titanic (Belfast MAC), Translations (Leicester Curve), 1984 (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Rosmersholm, Richard II and Coriolanus (Almeida Theatre). He has also worked extensively for the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His screen credits include Ashes to Ashes, Holby City, Jack of Hearts, EastEnders, A Touch of Frost, The Knock, Murder Most Horrid, Pride and Prejudice, Shine on Harvey Moon and Hidden Agenda.

Charlotte Gwinner was Associate Director at The Bush from 2009 – 2011 where she directed Our New Girl and Little Dolls, both by Nancy Harris, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and The Knowledge by John Donnelly.

Her credits elsewhere include Benefactors (part of the Michael Frayn season at Sheffield Crucible), Knives and Hens (Bath Theatre Royal), The Confederate (Trafalgar Studios), Men Should Weep (Oxford Stage Company/The Citizens Theatre), The Blood of Others (Arcola Theatre) and The Country of The Blind (Gate Theatre).

She is Artistic Director and Founder of award winning company ANGLE Theatre, most recently producing its second season “ANGLE at the Bush” at the Bush.

Adam Brace’s first full length play, Stovepipe, was presented at HighTide Festival Theatre and transferred to London in collaboration with the Bush and National Theatre. His other writing includes Midnight Your Time, also for HighTide, Jimmy McGhie’s Artificial Intelligence, The Four Stages of Cruelty, Because It’s There and Fran Moulds’ Curtains.

Taking Part will be designed by James Cotterill, with lighting by Emma Chapman and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Performances: previews Friday, July 27 at 1pm, Sunday, July 29 at 5pm, Monday, July 30 at 4.15pm (press performance), Tuesday, July 31 at 2.30pm, Thursday, August 2 at 4.15pm, Friday, August 3 at 2.30pm, Sunday, August 5 at 3pm, Monday, August 6 at 2.30pm, Tuesday, August 7 at 4.15pm, Thursday, August 9 at 2.30pm (captioned performance), Friday, August 10 at 4.15pm (audio described performance) and Sunday, August 12 at 3pm.

Tickets: £7.50, £10 and £15 (previews £7.50) – available from the box office on 0844-8471778 or online at www.criterion-theatre.co.uk.