HIGHTIDE AND ARCOLA THEATRE TO PRESENT WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW ANDERS LUSTGARTEN PLAY

HighTide and Arcola Theatre present
THE SUGAR-COATED BULLETS OF THE BOURGEOISIE
by Anders Lustgarten
Directed by Steven Atkinson

  • HighTide & ARCOLA THEATRE PRESENT WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW PLAY BY AWARD-WINNING ANDERS LUSTGARTEN

  • THE SUGAR-COATED BULLETS OF THE BOURGEOISIE WILL RUN AT THE ARCOLA 7 – 30 APRIL BEFORE OPENING HIGHTIDE FESTIVAL IN SEPTEMBER

  • HighTide CELEBRATES A DECADE OF NEW WRITING BY ANNOUNCING ITS 10TH  ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL ON 15 MARCH

Ahead of revealing its full tenth anniversary programme on 15 March, HighTide has announced today that, alongside the Arcola Theatre, they will present a brand new play by Anders Lustgarten. The play will run at the Arcola from 7th April before opening HighTide Festival in September.

The Sugar-Coated Bullets of The Bourgeoisie will reunite Lustgarten, who won the inaugural Harold Pinter Prize for If You Don’t Let Us Dream We Won’t Let You Sleep (Royal Court), with HighTide Artistic Director, Steven Atkinson whose recent credits include Forget Me Not,peddling and Bottleneck. The pair’s previous collaboration was the acclaimed production of Lustgarten’s powerful play about the refugee crisis, Lampedusa, (HighTide/Soho Theatre). Based on almost a decade of study, The Sugar-Coated Bullets of The Bourgeoisie is an urgent and timely new play that explores the lives of the Chinese people in two eras, during the rise of Maoist China, and in 2016, an increasingly diverse, volatile, $11 Trillion economy on the precipice of change.

The production’s 8 strong cast of British East Asian actors includes Andrew Leung (Chimerica,You For Me For You) and Anna Leong Brophy (P’yongyang).

Revolution has stirred, China has stood up and Communism reaches Rotten Peach Village. Over the next sixty years, the villagers are battered by the waves of New China, lurching from the extremes of Maoism to the extremes of capitalism. Yet amid all the change and turmoil, one thing does not alter: their willingness to fight.

HighTide, one of the UK’s leading new writing organisations focused on developing emerging playwrights, will celebrate its tenth anniversary in September 2016. The annual festival in Suffolk has showcased some of the UK’s most well-respected new writers of the last decade including Luke Barnes, Vickie Donoghue, Ella Hickson, Nick Payne, Beth Steel and Jack Thorne. The full 2016 programme will be announced on 15 March.

Anders Lustgarten has completed a BA, MA and PHD in Chinese language and politics. The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie is a take on his PHD topic. His play Lampedusa, about refugees and migration, was produced by HighTide last year and is being performed in seven countries in 2016. His play Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre premiered at Arcola in March 2015, directed by Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen. He recently adapted David Peace’s novel The Damned United for Red Ladder and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and his play The Seven Acts of Mercy, about Caravaggio and violent compassion, will be produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre later this year.

Steven Atkinson is co-founder and the Artistic Director of HighTide Festival. His directing credits for HighTide include Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre); So Here We Are (Royal Exchange Theatre); Lampedusa (Soho Theatre); peddling (Arcola Theatre/ Off-Broadway); Pussy Riot: Hunger Strike (Bush Theatre/ Southbank Centre); Neighbors (Nuffield Theatre); Bottleneck (Soho Theatre/ UK tour); Clockwork Bethany; Incoming; Dusk Rings A Bell (Watford Palace Theatre); Lidless (Trafalgar Studios); Muhmah (HighTide Festival) and The Pitch (Latitude). His other productions include Chicken (Paines Plough Roundabout) and The Afghan and the Penquin (Radio 4).

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HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES – CASTING ANNOUNCED

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES

 

NICHOLAS LE PREVOST & JENNY SEAGROVE

JASON MERRELLS & TAMZIN OUTHWAITE

MATTHEW COTTLE & GILLIAN WRIGHT

 

TO STAR IN

ALAN AYCKBOURN’S COMEDY OF MARITAL MANNERS

DIRECTED BY ALAN STRACHAN

 

 

One secret love affair. Two disaster-bound dinner parties.

Three couples headed for trouble.

 

 

Casting has been announced for Bill Kenwright’s new West End production of Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How The Other Half Loves. The 1969 classic – the first of Ayckbourn’s plays to be staged on Broadway – returns to London to play the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Wednesday 23 March 2016 – Saturday 25 June, with a press night on 31 March.

 

As Bob and Fiona clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses’ intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Featherstone become stuck in the middle, falsely accused of adultery and with no idea as to how they’ve become involved. The plot culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time, after which the futures of all three couples seem in jeopardy…

Olivier Award nominated star of stage and screen Nicholas Le Prevost will play ‘Frank Foster’ oppositeJenny Seagrove as ‘Fiona Foster’. Jenny starred in Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular in the West End in at the Garrick in 2007, and is best known for her role as ‘QC Jo Mills’ in ITV’s Judge John Deed.

Jason Merrells – one of TV’s most popular actors from roles in Lark Rise to Candleford, Cutting It andWaterloo Road, and recently seen as ‘Juror Number 8’ in Twelve Angry Men, will play ‘Bob Phillips’ opposite Tamzin Outhwaite as ‘Teresa Phillips’, known for her numerous lead television roles such as ‘Melanie Owen’ in EastEnders and ‘Rebecca Mitchell’ in Hotel Babylon. She returns to the Haymarket after her starring role in Sweet Charity, and it was Ayckbourn who gave Tamzin her first professional role in a play twenty years ago in Absent Friends at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Matthew Cottle, star of BAFTA nominated Game On, and most recently seen in Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business at the National Theatre in 2014, will play ‘William Featherstone’ opposite Gillian Wright as ‘Mary Featherstone’. Gillian is nationally known for her award-winning role as ‘Jean Slater’ in EastEnder

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New drama about “cure for homosexuality” comes to the Arts Theatre in June/July

LWL Investments and Entertainment presents:

SAVAGE
June 29th – July 23rd 2016, Above the Arts Theatre

In Summer 2016, the production team behind West End hit The Tailor-Made Man reunite to present stylish new drama and love story Savage, which uncovers the tragic tale of a Nazi doctor and his ill-conceived “cure” for homosexuality.

****  “Claudio Macor’s writing works a treat” (Tim Walker on The Tailor-Made Man)

In the late 1930s, Danish doctor Carl Peter Værnet discovered what he believed to be “the cure for homosexuality”: injecting testosterone into the testicles of live human subjects without anaesthetic. Dr Værnet was given a prominent post at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, where he experimented on 17 inmates.

After the liberation by Allied forces, Dr Værnet was arrested as a Nazi war criminal. However, the British major who interrogated him was intrigued by his “cure”, and the doctor was allowed to flee. He then escaped to South America, where he continued to experiment on thousands of live subjects, with the full knowledge of both the British and Danish authorities. He died in 1965.

**** “easy to imagine on a bigger stage” (The Daily Telegraph on The Tailor-Made Man)

In Claudio Macor’s new drama, we meet two young men directly affected by Dr Værnet’s experiments – their glamorous, hedonistic life in 1930s Copenhagen as well as the tragic treatment of one of them by the Nazis. Confirmed cast include Alexander Huetson (Phil Willmott’s Encounter, Above the Stag), Gary Fannin (The Reduced Shakespeare Company; Spectre; 24: Live Another Day) and Nic Kyle (The Grand Tour, Finborough Theatre; Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre)

Doctor Carl Peter Værnet is not only one of the forgotten Nazi war criminals, who was never on any most wanted list, but neither the British nor Danish governments have ever apologised for aiding him in his flight, nor for allowing his research to continue. He remains largely unwritten about and unresearched, apart from a ground-breaking piece by Guardian journalist Peter Tatchell in 2015, who will be taking part in a post-show Q & A.

**** “a compelling story (…) a highly enjoyable evening” (The Arts Desk on The Tailor-Made Man)

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CABBAGE-CRUNCHING MASTER-MIND GANGSTA GRANNY IS COMING TO THE LYCEUM!

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CABBAGE-CRUNCHING MASTER-MIND GANGSTA GRANNY

IS COMING TO THE LYCEUM!

 

The acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories and George’s Marvellous Medicine bring the world premiere of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny to the Lyceum Theatre from Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 March, as part of a national tour.

 

It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny! There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake and Ben knows one thing for sure – it’s going to be sooooooooo boring! But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny!

 

Based on the amazing book by the UK’s best-selling children’s author, David Walliams’ GangstaGranny is laugh-out-loud funny and a must for all families – and their grannies!

Gangsta Granny is at the Lyceum Theatre from Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 March.  Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk and are priced from £12.00 – £22.00 (a transaction fee of £1.50 (£1.00 online) applies to all bookings made at the Box Office, excluding cash).  Family tickets and discounts are available.

 

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Olivier Awards 2016: Nominations announced by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton

Nominees for this year’s Olivier Awards have been announced in a ceremony at the Rosewood London in Holborn.

Hosts Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton revealed the nominations, which recognise excellence in theatre, from noon this afternoon, Monday February 29. Ball and Staunton both won an Olivier in 2013 for their part in the West End run of Sweeney Todd.

The best actor category is particularly notable for the number of high-profile stars up against each other: Mark Rylance (Farinelli And The King), fresh from his Oscars win, is competing with Benedict Cumberbatch (Hamlet), Kenneth Branagh (The Winter’s Tale), Adrian Lester (Red Velvet) and  Kenneth Cranham (The Father).

Other notable nominations included Nicole Kidman for her turn in Photograph 51 and Gemma Arterton for Nell Gywnn at the Apollo Theatre.

 

The Full List of Nominees

Best Actor in a Play: 

Kenneth Branagh for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre, Mark Rylance for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, Kenneth Cranham for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet at the Barbican, Adrian Lester for Red Velvet at Garrick Theatre

Best Actress in a Play:

Denise Gough for People, Places and Things at National Theatre, Dorfman, Lia Williams for Orestia at Almeida Theatre, Gemma Arterton for Nell Gywnn at the Apollo Theatre, Janet McAteer for Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar Warehouse, Nicole Kidman for Photograph 51 at Noël Coward Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical:

Ian Bartholomew for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre, Killian Donnelly for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre, Matt Henry for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre, David Haig for Guys and Dolls at Savoy Theatre, Jamie Parker for Guys and Dolls at Savoy Theatre

Best Actress in A Musical: 

Tracie Bennett for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre, Natalie Dew for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre, Laura Pitt-Pulford for Seven Brides and Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Imelda Staunton for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Sophie Thompson for Guys and Dolls at Savoy Theatre

Best Director: 

Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre, Matthew Dunster for Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at Royal Court and Wyndham’s Theatre, Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre, Jonathan Kent for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Mark Gatiss for Three Days In The Country at National Theatre, Lyttelton Michael Pennington for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre, Tom Sturridge for American Buffalo at Wyndham’s Theatre, David Suchet for The Importance Of Being Earnest at Vaudeville Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: 

Judi Dench for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre, Michele Dotrice for Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre, Melody Grove for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, Catherine Steadman for Oppenheimer at Vaudeville Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical:

David Bedella for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre, Dan Burton for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Peter Davison for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Gavin Spokes for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical:

Preeya Kalidas for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre, Amy Lennox for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre, Lara Pulver for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Emma Williams for Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre

Best Revival:

Hamlet at the Barbican, Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar Warehouse, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at The National, The Winter’s Tale the Garrick Theatre

Best Musical Revival: 

Bugsy Malone at Lyric Hammersmith, Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre, Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Best New Comedy: 

A Christmas Carol at the Noël Coward Theatre,  Hand to God at the Vaudeville, Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Apollo Theatre, Nell Gywnn at the Apollo Theatre

Virgin Atlantic Best New Play:

Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre, Hangmen at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court & Wyndham’s Theatre, People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman

MasterCard Best New Musical:

Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre, In the Heights at King’s Cross Theatre, Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre, Mrs Henderson Presents at Noël Coward Theatre

Best Entertainment and Family Production:

Alice’s Adventures Underground at The Vaults, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax at The Old Vic, I Want My Hat Back at National Theatre, Temporary Theatre, Peter Pan at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at Apollo Theatre

Best New Opera Production:

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci at Royal Opera House, The Force Of Destiny at London Coliseum, Morgen Und Abend at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Opera: 

English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra for The Force Of Destiny, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk and The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum, Felicity Palmer for The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum, Sir Antonio Pappano for his conducting of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Guillaume Tell and Król Roger at Royal Opera House, Tamara Wilson for The Force Of Destiny at London Coliseum

Best New Dance Production:

He Who Falls (Celui Qui Tombe) by Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois at the Barbican, Romeo Et Juliette by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo at London Coliseum, Woolf Works by Wayne McGregor at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Dance:

Alessandra Ferri for her performances in Chéri and Woolf Works at Royal Opera House, Javier De Frutos for his choreography of Anatomy Of A Passing Cloud at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, Sasha Waltz for her choreography of Sacre at Sadler’s Wells

Best Theatre Choreographer:

Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright for Guys And Dolls at Savoy Theatre, Drew McOnie for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre, Stephen Mear for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre, Jerry Mitchell for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre

Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music:

Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre, with music by Howard Goodall, lyrics by Charles Hart and orchestrations by Howard Goodall and Kuljit Bhamra, Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, with musical arrangements by Claire van Kampen, composition by Iestyn Davies and the Singers who alternated the singing role of Farinelli, In The Heights at at King’s Cross Theatre for music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kinky Boots at at Adelphi Theatre, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Stephen Oremus

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre:

Barbarians at The Clare, Young Vic Phil Dunster for his role in Pink Mist at Bush Theatre, Pat Kinevane and Fishamble for Silent at Soho Theatre, Violence And Son at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court

Best Costume Design: 

Gregg Barnes for Kinky Boots at Adelphi Theatre, Hugh Durrant Nell Gywnn at the Apollo Theatre, Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, Katrina Lindsay for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Blue-i Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design: 

Hildegard Bechtler for Orestia at Almeida Theatre, Es Devlin for Hamlet at the Barbican, Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli And The King at Duke of York’s Theatre, Anna Fleischle for Hangmen at Wyndham’s Theatre

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design:

Neil Austin for The Winter’s Tale at Garrick Theatre, Natasha Chivers for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre, James Farncombe for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman, Mark Henderson for Gypsy at Savoy Theatre

Best Sound Design:

George Dennis for The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios One, Tom Gibbons for People, Places And Things at National Theatre, Dorfman, Christopher Shutt for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre, Christopher Shutt for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre

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SONIA FRIEDMAN PRODUCTIONS CELEBRATES WITH 20 OLIVIER AWARD NOMINATIONS

SONIA FRIEDMAN PRODUCTIONS CELEBRATES WITH 20 OLIVIER AWARD NOMINATIONS

Sonia Friedman Productions is today celebrating as the full Olivier Awards Nominations list included 20 potential winners for productions the company is behind.

Sonia Friedman said: “It is extraordinary. I want to take the chance to congratulate all the writers,  performers, composers, directors, designers, lighting designers, sound designers, musicians, co-producers, investors and of course my team at SFP. I also want to say a very big thank you to all the immensely talented artists involved in all the productions we produced and co-produced in 2015 /2016. Today I am feeling very proud.”

Full list of SFP nominees:

Best Revival
Hamlet at Barbican Theatre

Best New Comedy
A Christmas Carol at Noel Coward Theatre

Virgin Atlantic Best New Play
Farinelli and the King at Duke of York’s Theatre

Mastercard Best New Musical
Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Mark Rylance for Farinelli and the King at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Actress
Lia Williams for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre

Best Director
Robert Icke for Oresteia at Almeida

Best Actress in a Musical
Natalie Dew for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Melody Grove for Farinelli and the King at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Preeya Kalidas for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Best Costume Design
Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli and the King at Duke of York’s Theatre
Katrina Lindsay for Bend It Like Beckham at Phoenix Theatre

Blue-I Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design
Hildegard Bechtler for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre
Es Devlin for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre
Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli and the King at Duke of York’s Theatre

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design
Natasha Chivers for Oresteia at Almeida Theatre

Best Sound Design
Christopher Shutt for Hamlet at Barbican Theatre

Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music
Bend It Like Beckham – Music by Howard Goodall, Lyrics by Charles Hart and Orchestrations by Howard Goodall and Kuljit Bhamra at Phoenix Theatre
Farinelli and the King – Claire van Kampen for Musical Arrangements, the Musicians and Iestyn Davies and the singers who alternated the singing role of Farinelli at Duke of York’s Theatre

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Punching the Sky a play about the Internet, parenting & peer pressure, at Live Theatre in March

Punching the Sky a play about the Internet, parenting & peer pressure, at Live Theatre in March

Written by Lizi Patch

Directed by Mark Hollander

Designed by Scott Thompson

Composition / Sound Design by Aron Kyne, Alex Turner, Rich Huxley, James Hamilton

Animations by James Taylor & Nick Lewis Arcus Animation Studios, Gateshead

Punching the Sky at Live Theatre at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9 March is writer Lizi Patch’s personal response to discovering her 11 year old son had been shown graphic online images.

 

The play tells the true story of a young boy’s experience of stumbling across online pornography. This very personal account, written and performed by his mother, shines a light on the extraordinary public and media response to a blogpost she wrote about the experience in her attempt to reach out and make sense of what felt like a monumental failure as a parent.

 

“He told me how he could never ‘unsee it’, and, very significantly, he talked about how he felt his childhood was effectively finished. He experienced an instant and brutal loss of innocence – and whilst there is much to be salvaged, there is a lot of work to do.”

 

The show combines live performance, an original score and animation.  The animation has been created especially for the show by Gateshead based animation studio Arcus Animations, who first met Lizi when they were both commissioned to produce work for Enchanted Parks in 2011. Lizi created Echo Funnel in which visitors could speak to a tree and receive a reply and Arcus The Loop, a projection of snowmen inside a wooden shelter. They liked each’s other’s work and their first collaboration is the animation in Punching the Sky.

Coming to Live Theatre, Newcastle as part of a new national tour, Punching the Sky explores the complexities of our relationship with online pornography, the dangers and redemptive qualities of the Internet, the power of the media and the contradictory nature of our feelings about sex, censorship and parenthood.

 

Gez Casey, Literary Manager, Live Theatre, said:

 

Punching The Sky is an engaging, funny and thought-provoking piece of theatre. It examines some prickly and morally complex issues in a sensitive and entertaining way. It also asks some grown up questions about how quickly our young people grow up.”

 

Punching the Sky is one of three pieces of visiting theatre coming to Live Theatre in March, all with strong female leads. In award-winning play Iphigenia In Splott on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 March Effie’s life spirals out of control, in a mess of drink and drugs. Memoirs of a Bunny Boiler on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 March is a hilarious debut one woman show about a girl’s desperate attempt to find ‘the one’.

To find out more about Live Theatre’s visiting theatre programme and to buy tickets call Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232 or see www.live.org.uk.

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John Hurt to star opposite Kenneth Branagh in John Osborne’s The Entertainer

PLAYS AT THE GARRICK

  • JOHN HURT TO STAR OPPOSITE KENNETH BRANAGH IN JOHN OSBORNE’S THE ENTERTAINER

  • FURTHER CASTING INCLUDES JONAH HAUER-KING, SOPHIE MCSHERA AND GRETA SCACCHI
  • DIRECTED BY ROB ASHFORD, THE ENTERTAINER WILL PLAY AT THE GARRICK FROM 20 AUGUST TO 12 NOVEMBER WITH PRESS NIGHT ON 30 AUGUST 2016
  • THE FINAL PRODUCTION IN THE PLAYS AT THE GARRICK SEASON WILL ALSO BE BROADCAST LIVE TO CINEMAS WORLDWIDE

 

John Hurt_photo credit BAFTA Ian DerryFurther casting has been announced for The Entertainer, the final production in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s Plays at the Garrick season. John Hurt will return to the London stage for the first time in a decade as legendary patriarch Billy Rice opposite Kenneth Branagh, who as previously announced, will play the unforgettable Archie Rice in Rob Ashford’s production.

Also joining the company will be Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Sophie McShera as Jean Rice and Greta Scacchi as Phoebe Rice. The Entertainer will play at the Garrick Theatre fromSaturday 20 August until Saturday 12 November, with press night on Tuesday 30 August.

Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborneʼs modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment.

In partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, The Entertainer will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide in the autumn. The date of the broadcast will be announced soon. Participating cinemas and further information about Branagh Theatre Live can be found atbranaghtheatrelive.com

Rob Ashford said: I am really looking forward to working on this play. I find The Entertainerriveting and in my opinion there is no better group of actors to bring it to life.”

John Hurt said: “I am thrilled to be invited to play Billy Rice in this production of what I believe to be one of the great plays of the twentieth century. This has been a wonderfully successful season for Ken Branagh and his company, and I feel proud and privileged to be joining them.”

Greta Scacchi said: “I am thrilled to be working opposite Ken at last! I have known him since the start of our careers 30-something years ago and, although we played husband and wife in a radio play 5 years ago, this will be the first time we are on stage together.”

The cinema broadcast of The Entertainer will be directed by Benjamin Caron, who has previously directed the broadcast of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale, and will be directing the broadcast of Romeo and Juliet, starring Lily James, Richard Madden, Derek Jacobi and Meera Syal, on 7 July. Caron has also collaborated with Kenneth Branagh on the forthcoming series of Wallander, due to be broadcast on the BBC in 2016.

The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade / All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the seven-play season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. For more information please see branaghtheatre.com

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Miss Julie Review

Etcetera Theatre 26 February – 19 March.  Reviewed By Claire Roderick

August Strindberg’s claustrophobic tale of illicit passion and class divide is a perfect choice for this intimate theatre, allowing the audience to share in the feeling of being “trapped” below stairs in designer Carla Goodman’s stunningly evocative kitchen set.

It is Midsummer’s Eve and as the master of the house is absent, the servants are celebrating raucously, along with Miss Julie, the master’s wayward daughter. When Julie follows valet Jean to the kitchen, she unleashes passions, resentments and a struggle for power that leads to tragedy. Although the characters’ morals and choices now seem archaic, the ever growing class divide between rich and poor keeps this play relevant, and Strindberg’s revolutionary tendencies still strike a chord today. Who doesn’t want to strive for a better life for themselves and their family?

Laura Greenwood is remarkable as Miss Julie – beginning as a breathless, arrogant madam and unravelling throughout the play to end as a frightened, desperate child. When she emerges, physically and emotionally dishevelled, from Jean’s bedroom – her near silent portrayal of self-disgust and horror is the stand-out moment of the night. As Jean, Charlie Dorfman just didn’t hit the right tone for me. He is a fine actor and, once I’d accepted his interesting accent, he showed glimpses of the overbearing, bitter and troubled soul, but mostly came across as a petulant child. Jean is an unlikeable character anyway, but Dorfman’s portrayal made me doubt that Miss Julie would risk everything for this man. Jean’s moments of verbal brutality were more of a petty tantrum when compared to the female characters’ emotional outbursts. Danielle Henry played the tricky character of Kristin with great soul. The quiet tears as she listened to Julie’s plans were beautiful, showing the strength, heart and dignity of this seemingly docile and accepting character.

This is a classy production of a great play, marking a promising debut for Buckland Theatre Company.

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The Patriotic Traitor Review

Park Theatre  23 February – 19 March.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Telling the story of the relationship between Phillippe Petain and Charles de Gaulle in 2 hours is a challenge, but Jonathan Lynn has managed it brilliantly.

Sitting in his prison cell awaiting the jury’s verdict, Petain reminisces about his first meeting with de Gaulle before the great war, followed by the pivotal moments in their army and political careers that led to Petain being on trial for treason as a Nazi collaborator. Contradictory remarks from de Gaulle help to balance the narration and highlight the touching relationship between the men, as well as their ridiculous pomposity. Both men were self-important and unyielding in their beliefs, and when Petain believed he could be “the saviour of France” for a third time by signing an armistice with Hitler, his pragmatic view was too much for the idealistic de Gaulle to bear, with both men considering each other to be a traitor to France.

There is a lot of historical fact thrown rapidly at the audience and there is not much action, but the writing is so precise and witty, and the performances so entrancing, that the time flew by.

Tom Conti is remarkable as Petain, with little physical nuances signalling his ageing throughout the play, and some gentle moments when you aren’t quite sure if Petain is fully lucid. Conti effortlessly shows Petain’s flaws and the steeliness under the seemingly straightforward and compassionate image he showed his men. The scenes where he describes the bloodshed and losses in battles are outstanding and deeply moving.

Laurence Fox plays de Gaulle like an Anglo-French version of Sheldon Cooper, which works remarkably well. He is delightfully awkward and portrays de Gaulle’s social discomfort and unbelievable arrogance with great comic effect. The two actors appear at first like the classic comedy double act – one stiff and spiky, and one cuddly and bumbling, but add more and more layers to their characters throughout the play ensuring that the audience can empathise with each man. Their drunken scene is a delight, and because of the clever writing building up the audience’s investment in their friendship, the fracturing of that relationship, even though we know it’s coming, has a lot more impact.

With ideas about the meaning of nation, and keeping status and power in Europe and the wider world, this play is a timely reminder that nothing is ever new in politics. A wonderful, bitter-sweet story, expertly written and performed, and very funny.

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