Wise Children and Plush Theatricals present
Romantics Anonymous
Book by Emma Rice, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Music by Michael Kooman
Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Phillippe Blasband

Directed by Emma Rice; Composer: Michael Kooman; Lyricist: Christopher Dimond

Based on an original design by: Lez Brotherston; Musical Supervisor: Nigel Lilley

Choreographer: Etta Murfitt; Orchestrator: Simon Hale;Lighting Designer: Malcolm Rippeth

Sound Designer: Simon Baker

Bristol Old Vic

18 January – 1 February 2020

Wise Children today announce the full cast for the revival of Emma Rice’s musical adaptation of Romantics Anonymous in a co-production with Plush Theatricals. Joining the previously announced returning cast members Marc Antolin (Jean-René) and Carly Bawden (Angélique) are Brett Brown (Salesman/Fred), Me’sha Bryan (Suzanne/Mimi), Harry Hepple (Ludo/Remi), Laura Jane Matthewson (Young Woman), Sandra Marvin (Magda/Brigitte/Dr Maxim), Craig Pinder (Father/Pierre/Receptionist) and Gareth Snook (Mercier/Mumbler/Marini).

The production opens at Bristol Old Vic on 23 January, with previews from 18 January and runs until 1 February, ahead of a US tour to Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in LA and Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C with newly announced US dates at Spoleto Festival USA, 21 May – 7 June 2020.

Angélique is a gifted chocolate maker inhibited by social anxiety and Jean-René is the boss of a failing chocolate factory. When Angélique takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair unfolds. 

Funny, tender and painfully awkward, Romantics Anonymous is a delicious love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy.

Directed by Emma Rice, the world première of Romantics Anonymous was originally produced by Shakespeare’s Globe for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment.

This announcement follows recent news of Wise Children’s world première adaptation of Wuthering Heights opening at the National Theatre ahead of a UK tour next year.

Emma Rice is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed the company’s first two productions, Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour) and Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers (Bristol Passenger Shed/UK tour). For the ENO she directed Orpheus in the Underworld. As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directed Romantics AnonymousTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales). For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions for Kneehigh include The Flying Lovers of VitebskTristan & Yseult946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus TipsThe Wild BrideThe Red ShoesThe Wooden FrockThe BacchaeCymbeline (in association with RSC), A Matter of Life and Death (in association with National Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre), Brief Encounter (in association with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Productions), Don John (in association with the RSC and Bristol Old Vic), Wah! Wah! Girls (in association with Sadler’s Wells and Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages), and Steptoe and Son. Other work includes the West End production of The Umbrellas of CherbourgOedipussy (Spymonkey), The Empress (RSC), and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). She was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.

Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (lyrics) are a stage and screen writing team. They currently serve as songwriters for Vampirina, an animated musical TV series on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, reaching over 100 million viewers in 115 countries. Their theatre credits include The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (Village Theater), Orphie & The Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), The Enlightenment of Percival Von  Schmootz (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court (Pittsburgh CLO), Dani Girl (Exit, Pursued by a Bear), Golden Gate (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade Fusion (Ambassadors Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and Junior Claus (Orlando Repertory Theatre). Kooman and Dimond have received the Fred Ebb Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, the Samuel French Next Step Award, the Burton Lane Award and the Harold Adamson Award.

Marc Antolin plays Jean-René. His previous theatre credits include Hedda Gabler (Sherman Theatre), Cry Havoc (Park Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors – for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, Into the Woods, Hello Dolly! (Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), Peter Pan (National Theatre), The Trial (Young Vic), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket/Chichester Festival Theatre), Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain, The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre), From Here to Eternity (Shaftsbury Theatre), Matilda (RSC/Cambridge Theatre), Billy Liar (UK tour) and Imagine This (New London Theatre). His film credits include London Road and Love Actually.

Carly Bawden plays Angélique. Her previous theatre credits include Ghost Quartet (Boulevard Theatre), SylviaNatives (The Old Vic), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Wonder.Land (National Theatre), McQueen (Haymarket Theatre), Assassins, Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dead Dog in a SuitcaseTristan & Yseult (Kneehigh), My Fair Lady (Sheffield Theatres), The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (The Threesixty Theatre), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Kneehigh/Curve Theatre/Gielgud Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Wakefield Theatre), Vice (Arcola Theatre), Whistle Down the Wind (UK tour), Evita (UK tour – Nominated for TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress 2009); and for television, Call the Midwife, Close to the Enemy and Doctors.

Brett Brown plays Salesman/Fred. His previous theatre credits inclued Henry V (International tour), Hamlet: Tears of a Chameleon (Gangdong Arts Center), Fishskin Trousers (Park Theatre), Tiresias (Bloomsbury Festival), Suffolk Stories (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmonds), Macbeth (Little Angel Theatre), Fishskin Trousers (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmonds), Dear World (Charing Cross Theatre), Phaedre (Cockpit Theatre), The Tempest (RSC/Little Angel Theatre), Coalition: Westminster Side Story (Theatre 503), Oh What A Lovely War! (Anvil Arts), Pain Management (Theatre 503), La Bôheme (The Cock Tavern, Kilburn), The Tempest (Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival), Last Seen (Almeida Theatre), Gentleman (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Our Theatre, The Tempest (Shakespeare’s Globe), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sydney Opera House).

Me’sha Bryan plays Suzanne/Mimi. Her previous theatre credits include Caroline, or Change (Playhouse Theatre/Hampstead Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre), As You Like It (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Desire Under the Elms (Sheffield Theatres), Sister Act – A Divine Musical Comedy (National Concert Hall, Dublin), The Lion King (UK tour), Been So Long (Young Vic), Moziz The Musical (Hackney Empire), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre), The Wizard of Oz (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and The Little Shop of Horrors (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Harry Hepple plays Ludo/Remi. His previous theatre credits include Rutherford & SonFolliesA Taste of HoneyBurnt by the Sun (National Theatre), Hot Mess, The Daughter in Law (Arcola Theatre), Wonderland (Nottingham Playhouse), Into the WoodsPippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Saints (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), The Lightning ChildMacbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Privates on Parade (Noël Coward Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s DreamRagtime (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Donmar Warehouse), Jump (UK tour), Been So Long (Young Vic), I Caught Crabs in Walberswick (Bush Theatre) and Alaska (Royal Court theatre). His television credits Moving OnBoy Meets GirlHustle and Misfits; and for film, PeterlooStan and Ollie and Criminal.

Laura Jane Matthewson plays Young Woman. Her previous theatre credits includeOrpheus Descending(Theatr Clywd/Menier Chocolate Factory), Harriet Martineau Dreams of Dancing (Live Theatre), The World Goes ‘Round (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Beyond The Fence (Arts Theatre), Dogfight (Southwark Playhouse – Winner of Evening Standard Award 2014 for Best Emerging Talent), Daisy Pulls It Off (Hever Festival) and After The Tone (Bridewell Theatre). Her television credits include Press.

Sandra Marvin plays Magda/Brigitte/Dr Maxim.Her previous theatre credits includeWaitress (Adelphi Theatre), CommitteeCity of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), Stepping Out(Vaudeville Theatre), Showboat (Sheffield Theatres/New London Theatre), Chicago (UK tour/Curve Theatre), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre/UK tour), A Fairytale of New YorkA Midsummer Night’s DreamRagtime (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Cool Hands Luke (Aldwych Theatre), The New Yorkers (Sadler’s Wells Theatre), Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Momo (Greenwich Theatre) and A Rake’s Progress (Royal Opera House). Her television credits include as series regular Jessie Grant in Emmerdale.

Craig Pinder plays Father/Pierre/Receptionist. His previous theatre credits include Fiddler on the Roof (Menier Chocolate Factory/Playhouse Theatre), The Best Man (Playhouse Theatre/UK tour), Veterans Day (Finborough Theatre), Floyd Collins (Wilton’s Music Hall), Guys & Dolls (UK tour), Walking the Chains (Bristol Old Vic), Blue/Orange (Sherman Theatre), High Society (UK tour), The White House Murder Case (Orange Tree Theatre), 1936 (Sadler’s Wells Theatre), Death of a Salesman (UK tour), Sunset Boulevard (Comedy Theatre), Footloose (UK tour), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Baby Doll (The Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Not About Nightingales (Alley Theatre Houston), Popcorn (UK tour), Henry VA Chaste Maid (Shakespeare’s Globe), Sunset Boulevard (Adelphi Theatre), Sweeney ToddHands UpMikado, (New Vic Theatre), Little MurdersComedy of ErrorsA View From The BridgeRomeo and Juliet (Royal Exchange Theatre), Company (Exeter Northcott Theatre), Children of Eden (Prince Edward Theatre), As You Like ItSingerThe Duchess of MalfiMoscow Gold (RSC) and Les Miserables (RSC/Palace Theatre).His film credits include The American WayChildren of GodWind Jammers and Cargo.

Gareth Snook plays Mercier/Mumbler/Marini. His previous theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Wise Children (Dora), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre), Pacifists Guide to the War on Cancer (National Theatre), Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse),Company, Assassins (Noël Coward Theatre/Donmar Warehouse), Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Aspects of Love (Prince of Wales Theatre), Les Miserables (Palace Theatre), Cats (New London Theatre), Sunset Boulevard, Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre), The Rink (Cambridge Theatre), The Hired Man (London Astoria), Guys and Dolls (Prince of Wales Theatre), Girlfriends (Playhouse Theatre), Closer Than Ever (Jermyn Street Theatre/Criterion Theatre/Vaudeville Theatre), My Fair Lady (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), The Full MontyMartin Guerre (UK tours). His television credits include That Uncertain Feeling, Ten Glorious Years, Company and French and Saunders; and for film, Paddington 2, and Les Miserables.

This production is made possible by the generous support of Paul and Joanna Pearson.

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS                                                                                                                         LISTINGS

Bristol Old Vic

King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED

18 January – 1 February 2020

Press Night: Thursday 23 January, 7.30pm

Box Office: 0117 987 7877



Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts

17 – 29 March 2020


The Shakespeare Theatre Company

7 April – 17 May 2020


Spoleto Festival USA

21 May – 7 June 2020