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What’s In A Name? - Richmond Theatre and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ADAPTED and directed by Jeremy Sams from the award-winning French film and stage sensation, Le Prènom, by Matthew Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière, What’s In A Name? will visit Richmond Theatre from November 12 to November 16, 2019 as part of a UK tour.

An internationally acclaimed comedy, What’s In A Name? hilariously captures a particularly awkward family dinner party. The production will star Joe Thomas (as Vincent), Bo Poraj (Peter), Laura Patch (Elizabeth), Summer Strallen (Anna) and Alex Gaumond (Carl).

Father-to-be Vincent and his partner Anna are invited to dinner by his sister Elizabeth and her husband, Peter. They are joined by childhood friend Carl for a mature and sophisticated gathering.

The meal is lovingly prepared, and wine carefully selected. The friends are prepared for the usual humorous exchanges they’ve come to expect.

But tonight, a startling revelation about the name chosen for Vincent’s and Anna’s expected child becomes the catalyst for a destructive argument which spirals hysterically out of control. Tonight no one is holding back! Egos, childish resentment and unspoken feelings are relentlessly and hilariously exposed for the first time.

Joe Thomas is an actor and writer best known as Simon in the multi-award-winning E4 show The Inbetweeners. Following the success of The Inbetweeners (and the two eponymous films that followed), Thomas starred as Kingsley in all four series of Fresh Meat, and as George in Chickens, which he also co-wrote. Most recently, he starred as Nick in the 2018 feature film The Festival and as Martin Lavender in the BBC2 sitcom White Gold, alongside Ed Westwick and James Buckley.

Bo Poraj is perhaps most well-known for his role as Mike in the ever popular BBC comedy series Miranda. He played a regular role in The Musketeers (BBC) and has been seen in The Thick Of It and Boomers (also BBC). On stage, his most recent credits include Rasheeda Speaking (Trafalgar Studios 2, nominated for Best Supporting Male in a Play, Off-West End Theatre Awards), Gloria, Acceptance (Hampstead Theatre) and Blithe Spirit (Theatre Royal Bath/UK Tour/West End). His film credits include The Boat That Rocked.

Laura Patch is a comedy performer and actor known for playing various roles in Star Stories. Most recently, she appeared in Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series Afterlife. Further television credits include A Brief History of Tim, New Tricks, Dol & Em, Youngers, Holby City, Starlings, Being Human and The IT Crowd, along with the web series Bad Mother. Her film credits include Songbird alongside Cobie Smulders and Jessica Hynes.

(l-r) Alex Gaumond, Summer Strallen, Joe Thomas, Laura Patch and Bo Poraj star in What’s In A Name? Photo Credit: Piers Foley for Target Live.

Olivier Award-nominated actress Summer Strallen most recently starred as Alice in Alexis Michalik’s Intra Muros at Park Theatre and she is best known for leading West End stage roles in Top Hat, The Sound of Music, Young Frankenstein, The Drowsy Chaperone, Guys and Dolls, The Boy Friend, Love Never Dies, Cats and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. On TV, her credits include Hollyoaks in which her character Summer Shaw auditioned for and won the role of Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music which Strallen went on to play on stage.

Alex Gaumond most recently received critical acclaim for his role as Paul in Marianne Elliott’s multi-Olivier® award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company in the West End. Further stage credits include A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Caroline, Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Trial of Jane Fonda (Park Theatre), Into the Woods (Manchester Royal Exchange), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Sweeney Todd (ENO) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the RSC’s Matilda: The Musical, Top Hat and We Will Rock You (all West End).

Gaumond’s film credits include The Hustle, My Dinner with Hervé and Hampstead.

Highly respected director Jeremy Sams has adapted and directed multiple celebrated productions. As a director his credits include Oklahoma! (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Wizard of Oz (West End/World Tour), The Sound of Music (West End/Toronto), Noises Off (National Theatre/West End/UK Tour/Broadway) and Benefactors (UK Tour/West End).

Sams’ credits as an adaptor include The Park (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Rehearsal (Almeida/West End), Beckett (West End) and Les Parents Terribles (National Theatre/Broadway).

What’s In A Name? has set design by Francis O’Connor and lighting design by Rick Fisher.

The tour will open at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (September 5-14, 2019) before visiting Glasgow, York, Aylesbury, Cambridge, Windsor, Richmond and Southampton.

Image (lower): (l-r) Alex Gaumond, Summer Strallen, Joe Thomas, Laura Patch and Bo Poraj who star in What’s In A Name? Photo Credit: Piers Foley for Target Live.