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Theatre Royal Haymarket Company announces two more productions

Chris Andrew Mellon as The Player. Photo credit: Catherine Ashmore

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

UNDERSTUDY Chris Andrew Mellon has taken over the role of The Player in Trevor Nunn’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which is now booking at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until August 20, 2011.

The part was to have been played by Tim Curry but he was forced to withdraw from the Chichester production because of health problems.
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Chris Andrew Mellon’s most recent theatre credits include Jerome in Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

His West End credits include La Cage aux Folles (Playhouse Theatre), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), My Fair Lady (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Complete History of America, both with the Reduced Shakespeare Company (Criterion Theatre).

Read our review of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Previously Posted: The Theatre Royal Haymarket Company has announced two more productions to be directed by Trevor Nunn in his role as Artistic Director.

They are Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, with Samuel Barnett (as Rosencrantz), Jamie Parker (Guildenstern) and Tim Curry (The Player), and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with Ralph Fiennes (as Prospero).

Following a three week season at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from June 21 (previews from June 16) to August 20, 2011.

Described as a verbally scintillating and richly inventive play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead retells Hamlet through the eyes of two of its minor characters.

Vaguely conscious that they are bit parts in a much bigger story of which they have no direct knowledge, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hilariously and poignantly inhabit a world completely beyond their grasp.

Samuel Barnett was last seen on stage playing Leantio in Women Beware Women at the National Theatre. His other theatre credits include Posner in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (National Theatre, Broadway, film and radio), His Dark Materials (National Theatre), The Whisky Taster and When You Cure Me (Bush Theatre), Dealers Choice (Menier Chocolate Factory, Accrington Pals (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Frankenstein (Open Air Theatre Regents Park).

On screen, he has appeared in Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, Miss Marple, Beautiful People, Desperate Romantics, Crooked House, John Adams and the title role in Wilfred Owen: A Tale of Remembrance (TV); Bright Star, Mrs Henderson Presents and Love Tomorrow (film).

Jamie Parker‘s theatre credits include Tony Ferris in David Hare’s Racing Demon (Sheffield Theatre), Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts I and II, A New World – The Life of Thomas Payne and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe), My Zinc Bed (Theatre Royal Northampton), Singer (Tricycle Theatre) and The Revenger’s Tragedy (National Theatre). He also played Scripps in The History Boys (National Theatre, Broadway and film).

His other film credits include Valkyrie, while on television he has appeared in The Hour, Horne and Cordon, Silent Witness, Maxwell, Wire in the Blood and Foyle’s War.

Tim Curry was last in the West End in 2006 playing King Arthur in Monty Python’s Spamalot, a role he created on Broadway. His other theatre credits include The Threepenny Opera, Love for Love and The Rivals (National Theatre), Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (West End and Broadway) and Amadeus, My Favourite Year and Travesties (Broadway).

His numerous screen credits include Burke and Hare, Kinsey, Addams Family Reunion, Congo, The Hunt for Red October, Legend, Annie and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film); Cranford, The Colour of Magic, Poirot, Criminal Minds, Will and Grace, Stephen King’s It, Wiseguy and Oliver Twist (TV). He can alos be heard in countless animated films and television programmes, numerous audio books and several albums.

Joining them in the cast of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will be Chris Andrew Mellon (The Player King), Michael Benz (Horatio), Fiona Gillies (Gertrude), Tom Golding (Fortinbras), Charles Hamblett (Alfred), Jack Hawkins (Hamlet), Andrew Jarvis (Polonius/Ambassador), Katherine Press (Ophelia) and James Simmons (Claudius).

They in turn will be joined by Trevor Allan Davies, Tomm Coles, Jody Elin Machin, Zac Fox, Elisabeth Hopper, Greg Last, James Northcote and Stephen Pallister.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was first staged at the Edinburgh Festival in 1966 and at the National Theatre the following year. Since then, it has been performed in many languages and in 1990, it was made into a film directed by the author.

Tom Stoppard‘s other plays include The Real Inspector Hound, Jumpers, Travesties, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Indian Ink, Arcadia, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia and Rock ’n’ Roll. He has also translated and adapted works by Lorca, Nestroy, Schnitzler, Molnar, Pirandello and Chekhov.

His screen credits include Professional Foul and Squaring the Circle (TV; Billy Bathgate, Empire of the Sun, Enigma and Shakespeare in Love for which he received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, together with co-writer Marc Norman (film). His radio plays include If You’re Glad, I’ll Be Frank, Albert’s Bridge, In the Native State and On Dover Beach.

Produced by the Chichester Festival Theatre, the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Triumph Entertainment Limited, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will be designed by Simon Higlett, with costumes by Fotini Dimou, lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Paul Groothuis and music by Steven Edis.

Tickets: £17 – £50 (plus concessions). A £1 restoration levy will be added to all ticket prices. Available from the box office on 0845 481 1870 or at www.trh.co.uk

Times: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead will be followed – from September 6 (previews from August 27) to October 29, 2011 – by The Tempest, starring Ralph Fiennes as Prospero.

Terence Rattigan’s wartime drama Flare Path has extended its run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until June 11, 2011.