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World Premiere of David Mamet’s Bitter Wheat to open in June in West End starring John Malkovich

The multi award-winning John Malkovich returns to the West End stage after nearly 30 years to play Barney Fein, a top dog Hollywood producer in Bitter Wheata new play by the legendary author, director and playwright David Mamet.  It will preview at the Garrick Theatre on Friday 7 June 2019 with a press night on Wednesday 19 June 2019 and will be directed by Mamet.

Malkovich, one of the world’s most revered actors, is best known for his many films including Dangerous LiaisonsBeing John MalkovichCon Air andMulholland Drive. He recently received widespread critical acclaim playing Hercule Poirot in a new BBC TV Agatha Christie adaptation.

The Pulitzer prize winning David Mamet has written some of the most iconic plays of the last 50 years including Sexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and Oleanna.

 Doon Mackichan, who is well known for her extensive TV work which includes creating and starring in the hit comedy series Smack the Pony for Channel 4, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, Plebs for ITV2 and Two Doors Down for the BBC, will play Barney Fein’s assistant, Sondra.

Ioanna Kimbook will make her debut theatre performance in Bitter Wheat as Yung Kim Li. Further casting is to be announced.

 Hollywood is a hell hole.

Everything in Hollywood is for sale except the awards, which are for rent.

Bitter Wheat is a play about a depraved Hollywood mogul. It rips the pashmina off the suppurating wound which is show business, and leaves us better human beings, and fitter to once more confront the horror of life.

 Our hero, Barney Fein, is a bloated monster- a studio head, who, like his predecessor, the minotaur, devours the young he has lured to his cave.

 His fall from power to shame is a mythic journey which has been compared to The Odyssey by people who claim to have read that book.

 A new play starring John Malkovich, written and directed by David Mamet in a good mood.

 Funnier than The Iceman Cometh, more chaos than Richard III, and without all the stupid, so-called ‘poetry’.

Money, sex, power, you only need one of them to see Bitter Wheat – at the Garrick.

Joining Mamet on the creative team are designer Christopher Oram and lighting designer Neil Austin.

Bitter Wheat is produced by Jeffrey Richards and Smith & Brant Theatricals.

The RSC’s Don Quixote transfers to the West End for a limited season at the Garrick Theatre from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019

Don Quixote RSC
Don Quixote RSC

Don Quixote RSC © Helen Maybanks

  • The RSC’s joyous, music-filled Don Quixote transfers to the West End for a limited season at the Garrick Theatre from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019 with press night on 8 November
  • David Threlfall and Rufus Hound return to reprise their roles as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in James Fenton’s triumphant adaptation of Cervantes’ classic novel
  • Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 25 June at 10am

It is announced today that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Don Quixote, which originally premiered at the RSC’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in spring 2016, will transfer to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End from 27 October 2018 to 2 February 2019.

The award-winning poet, journalist and literary critic James Fenton has adapted Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel which tells the famous, farcical story of a self-fashioned travelling knight accompanied by his faithful squire.

A labyrinthine world of rogues, merchants, shepherds, galley-slaves and windmills combine to confront the pair with a world of rampant, absurd adventures in this brilliantly energised adaptation of the comic epic.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said: “We are delighted that Angus Jackson’s joyful production of Don Quixote is going to be shared with West End audiences this autumn, following my production of Imperium playing at the Gielgud Theatre and our regular winter season of Shakespeare plays at the Barbican.  

Don Quixote’s journey with his faithful sidekick is one of the world’s most famous stories, and James Fenton’s glorious adaptation brings Cervantes’ novel wonderfully to life.  

First staged in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, David Threlfall will reprise his mesmerising performance in the title role, with Rufus Hound once again playing his long-suffering companion Sancho Panza. 

London audiences will get the chance to see them recreate their chemistry on stage and I encourage everyone to discover this hilarious, profound and lyrical adaptation of a classic tale.”

Co-producer and theatre owner Nica Burns said: “Having seen this glorious production which premiered at the Swan Theatre in 2016, we are thrilled to be collaborating with the RSC to share this joyous and moving evening with a wider audience at its new home at the Garrick Theatre.”

Don Quixote will again be played by David Threlfall, best known for his leading role as Frank Gallagher in Channel 4’s Shameless. His other recent TV work includes Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This, Black Sea, Housewife 49, What Remains and most recently he appeared in the BBC/Netflix series Troy: Fall of a City. His original appearance in the show in Stratford marked a long-awaited return to the RSC for Threlfall, whose last performance there was in his award-winning role of Smike in the iconic adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby in 1980.

Actor and comedian Rufus Hound will return to play Quixote’s squire, Sancho Panza. Hound’s recent work includes the Rose Theatre Kingston’s War of the Roses cycle, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre), One Man Two Guvnors (NT/West End), Wind in the Willows(London Palladium Theatre), What the Butler Saw (Curve Leicester), Present Laughter (Chichester) and the upcoming new musical Dusty(UK tour).

After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own. Taking up a lance and sword, he sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited squire, Sancho Panza.

The production is once again directed by RSC Associate Director Angus Jackson who previously worked on the critically acclaimed production Oppenheimer, which transferred to the West End in 2015 after a sell-out run at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Last year, he was season director of the ROME MMXVII season of Shakespeare plays (RST and Barbican).

Don Quixote is designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, with music composed by Grant Olding, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound byFergus O’Hare. The fight director is Malcolm Ranson. Movement is by Lucy Cullingford.

LISTINGS
Don Quixote
Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London
WC2H 0HH

Saturday 27 October 2018 – Saturday 2 February 2019
Press night: Thursday 8 November 2018

Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00pm
No matinees between Saturday 27 October and Wednesday 7 November
First matinee will be on Saturday 10 November

Box Office

Website: www.donquixoteplay.com / www.rsc.org.uk/london
Telephone: 0330 333 4811 / 01789 403493
Prices from £10 (Prices from £5 for 16-25 year olds only)

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 25 June at 10am

Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein concludes West End residency and announces UK Tour

Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – the critically acclaimed musical based on the Oscar-nominated smash hit movie, will end its year- long residency at the Garrick Theatre on 25 August before embarking on a major UK National Tour from September 2019. An Original West End Cast Recording of the production is also set for release in July this year.
Young Frankenstein is from the brains behind The ProducersBlazing Saddles and Spaceballs – legendary filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks. Mel’s all-singing, all-dancing musical comedy, directed by Tony-award winning Broadway director Susan Stroman, opened in the West End in 2017 to 5 star reviews, receiving 3 Olivier Award nominations and continues to play nightly to standing ovations. The final performance at the Garrick Theatre will be on Saturday 25 August 2018.
The first UK tour of Young Frankenstein will commence in September 2019. Full venue details and dates will be announced later this year when tickets go on sale.
Mel Brooks commented:
“Thank you London audiences for embracing Young Frankenstein and for making us such a smash hit in the West End. I’m so happy that soon the rest of the UK will get a chance to see it…… so see it before you die or you’ll regret it forever!”
The Original West End Cast Recording was recorded live at the Garrick Theatre over several performances earlier this year and will be released through all usual outlets in July.
Young Frankenstein brilliantly brings to life Mel Brooks’ beloved characters from his film, including Dr Frederick Frankenstein(grandson of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein and immortalised by Gene Wilder in the 1974 movie), the humpbacked, bug-eyed sidekick IgorFrau Blucher (the forbidding housekeeper to the Frankenstein family estate in Transylvania) and, of course, The Monster.
Young Frankenstein, the wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic, sees Frederick Frankenstein, an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, inherit a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his deranged genius grandfather, Victor Von Frankenstein.  He now faces a dilemma – does he continue to run from his family’s tortured past or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather’s mad experiments reanimating the dead and, in the process, fall in love with his sexy lab assistant Inga?
Full UK Tour details, including casting, will be announced in due course.
Young Frankenstein is produced by Michael HarrisonFiery Angel and Kevin Salter.

Last chance to see major West End revival of The Miser starring Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack and Matthew Horne

Griff Rhys Jones as Harpagon in The Miser.

Griff Rhys Jones as Harpagon in The Miser. Credit Helen Maybanks.

Audiences have four weeks left to see a major West End revival of Molière’s classic comedy The Miser. The cast brings together two time Olivier Award-winner Griff Rhys Jones, who returns to the West End stage after a five year absence, British Comedy Award-winning Lee Mack who makes his West End debut and Mathew Horne. The play, newly adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter, opened at London’s Garrick Theatre in March and now enters the final weeks of a strictly limited season which must end on Saturday 3rd June 2017.

The full West End cast includes: Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack, Mathew Horne, Saikat Ahamed, Ryan Gage, Simon Holmes, Andi Osho, Michael Webber, Ellie White and Katy Wix.

Griff Rhys Jones is a two-time Olivier award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian. On stage, he has appeared as Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! (West End), the title role in Charley’s Aunt (West End) and in Feydeau’s An Absolute Turkey (The Globe). In a long-lasting comedy partnership with Mel Smith, his television credits include Not the Nine O’ClockNews (BBC), Alas Smith and Jones (BBC), The World According to Smith and Jones (ITV), Smith and Jones in Small Doses (BBC) and Smith and Jones (BBC).

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS FOR THE MISER 

Best known for television and stand-up work, Lee Mack is widely recognised as one of the country’s favourite comedians and has won multiple awards. He is the writer and star of hit BBC One comedy, Not Going Out, which has run for seven series and holds the accolade of being the BBC’s longest running sitcom.  He is a team captain on popular BBC panel show Would I Lie to You, the host of Duck Quacks Don’t Echo on Sky One and a regular guest on panel shows, including Have I Got News for You, Nevermind the Buzzcocks and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Lee has also toured the country with multiple sell-out stand up shows.

Mathew Horne has worked extensively in television where his credits include Are You Being Served?, Agatha Raisin, Worried About the Boy, Nan, Bad Education, Gavin & Stacey, Teachers and The Catherine Tate Show. His stage work includes Pride (Trafalgar Studios/ tour), Charley’s Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory/ Theatre Royal Bath) and Entertaining Mr.Sloane (Trafalgar Studios).

Saikat Ahamed’s recent theatre credits include Peter Pan (National Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich), Strictly Balti (UK tour), 101 Dalmatians (Bristol Tobacco Factory) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic). Television credits include Nadeem, Trollied, Being Human and Afterlife. Film work includes This Must be the Place and East is East.  

Ryan Gage’s television and film credits include King Louis XIII in BBC One and BBC America drama The Musketeers as well as the feature film series The Hobbit and the film Serial Thriller: Angel in Decay. His stage credits include Ghost Stories (Lyric/ West End), The Lawes of War (Royal Court) and numerous credits with the RSC.

Simon Holmes’ recent theatre credits include Ghost Stories (West End), Yes Prime Minister (Chichester Festival Theatre/ UK tour), Romeo & Juliet (Menier Chocolate Factory) and The Cherry Orchard (Manchester Lowry). Film work includes V for Vendetta and Private Moments. Television credits include Doctors, Casualty, Silent Witness and Bad Blood.

Andi Osho has worked across stage, stand-up comedy, television and feature film. Her theatre credits include Breakfast with Mugabe (Theatre Royal Bath) and Yellowman (Theatre Royal Liverpool/ UK tour). She has performed on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Stand Up For The Week and Live At The Apollo. Recent television work includes Finding Carter, Psychoville, Life of Riley and The Andi O Show. Film credits include Swinging with the Finkels and Lights Out.

Michael Webber’s theatre credits include Cyrano (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Cause Celebre (Old Vic). His extensive film credits include Hysteria, Sherlock Holmes 2, The Scouting Book for Boys, Children of Men and Stormbreaker. Television work includes Black Mirror ‘The Waldo Moment’, What Remains, Little Dorrit, Wire in the Blood and Hustle.

Ellie White recently appeared in The Windsors on Channel 4. Other television credits include Carters Get Rich, Class Dismissed, Murder in Successville and House of Fools. Humans, her debut solo show, ran at Edinburgh Festival with the Invisible Dot. She also works on ITV 2’s current affairs comedy show @ELEVNISH and has filmed a comedy sketch pilot for BBC3.

Katy Wix is best known for her television work and has appeared regularly alongside Lee Mack in Not Going Out as Daisy. Her other television work includes Decline and Fall, Sherlock, Agatha Raisin, Miranda all for the BBC, Anna and Katy and The Windsors for Channel 4. She has also appeared on panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You. Her previous stage work includes Holes (The Invisible Dot) and Psister Psycho (Edinburgh Fringe). Her writing credits include Anna and Katy for Channel 4 and Bird Island for the BBC.

Sean Foley is an award-winning actor, writer and director. He co-founded The Right Size, creating over 10 original comedies for the theatre including the Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated production of The Play What I Wrote (Best Comedy 2002), Do You Come Here Often? (Best Entertainment 1999), and Ducktastic! (Albery Theatre – Best Entertainment nomination 2006). As director his work includes The Dresser, The Painkiller, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Best New Comedy 2014), The Walworth Farce (The Olympia Theatre, Dublin), the multi Olivier-nominated The Ladykillers (Liverpool Everyman, Gielgud Theatre, UK tour), A Mad World My Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company & Barbican), What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre), The Painkiller (The Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Arturo Brachetti – Change (Garrick – Best Entertainment nomination 2010) , The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Armstrong and Miller Show Live (UK tour) and I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium). Foley’s first film Mindhorn is released this month.

Mark Goucher has previously collaborated with Sean Foley, most recently on The Dresser at the Duke of York’s Theatre, as well as on the hugely successful production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense which played in the West End and on tour and is currently under option for a Broadway season.

The Miser is produced with long term producing partner Mark Rubinstein Ltd, and Gavin Kalin Productions.

Tape Face (formerly The Boy With Tape on His Face) is coming to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End for a 7 week season following his debut tour of America

TAPE FACE

SEVEN WEEK WEST END SEASON SUMMER 2017

 Venue:             Garrick Theatre,

2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH

Dates:               Tuesday, 6th June to Saturday, 22nd July 2017

Time:               7.30pm (Saturday Matinees – 3.00pm)

Box Office:       0871 297 0777

Online:             www.tapeface.tv / www.tapefacelondon.com

 ENDLESSLY INVENTIVE, HYSTERICALLY FUNNY.” ««««« Time Out

Following a stunning 2016 – during which he made his debut in Las Vegas, reached the Final of America’s Got Talent, completed a sold-out 52 date tour of some of the UK’s most iconic venues and successfully persuaded Mel B to wear a toilet seat on her head live on American TV in front of an audience of over 14 million! – Tape Face is proud to announce his highly anticipated seven-week season in London’s Garrick Theatre in 2017.

This is the show the world can’t stop talking about.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUT TICKETS FOR TAPEFACE

A TRULY MAGICAL EXPERIENCE” ««««« Chortle

The West End 2017 Season promises to be a bigger, brighter and more theatrically spectacular re-imagining of everything Tape Face’s fans have come to expect from his much-loved brand of silent comedy.  This truly is for everyone so be prepared to get immersed in a comedy world unlike any other.  Visually stunning, heart-stopping, and sublime – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and when it’s over you’ll be completely lost for words.

THIS BOY IS GOING PLACES” ««««« Times

Sam Wills’ creation is totally unique – a multi-award winning, multi-hyphenate spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed as he conjures uproarious, moving tableaux using only the most everyday objects and popular songs.

AS TIMELESS AS IT IS WORDLESS, AS DISARMING AS IT IS FUNNY” «««« Guardian

Tape Face accesses the inner child in everyone. Through simple, clever and charming humour, he has created one of the most accessible and enjoyable shows the world has ever seen. Drawing on a heritage that includes silent film, mime, magic, puppetry, Motown and the films of Patrick Swayze, he is a pensive, curious soul approaching every object and audience member as a potential friend – or plaything. Since Tape Face’s ‘birth’ his shows have sold out around the world during which time he has become a critically acclaimed silent sensation with Simon Cowell comparing him to a modern Charlie Chaplin.

www.tapefacelondon.com

This House, written by James Graham and directed by Jeremy Herrin, to end its scheduled run at the Garrick Theatre on Saturday 25 February 2017

This House

This House

This House, written by James Graham and directed by Jeremy Herrin, will end its scheduled run at the Garrick Theatre on Saturday 25 February 2017.

‘a thrilling play that both relives history and transcends it’ The Guardian

 ‘a treat and a triumph, this is a superlative night out’ The Evening Standard

 ‘Riveting and highly relevant’ The Times

James Graham’s critically acclaimed political drama This House transferred to the Garrick Theatre following its run at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre. It originally played two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, directed by Headlong Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin.

It’s 1974. And Westminster is about to go to war with itself. Set in the engine rooms of the House of Commons, This House dives deep into the secret world of the Whips who roll up thei sleeves and go to often farcical lengths to influence an unruly chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.

In an era of chaos, both hilarious and shocking, fist fights break out in the parliamentary bars, high- stakes tricks and games are played, while sick or dying MPs are carried through the lobby to register their crucial votes as the government hangs by a thread.

Writer                        James Graham
Director                     Jeremy Herrin
Designer                    Rae Smith
Lighting Designer    Paule Constable
Choreographer         Scott Ambler
Music                         Stephen Warbeck
Sound Designer       Ian Dickinson

Cast includes: Phil Daniels (Bob Mellish), Kevin Doyle (Michael Cocks), David Hounslow (Joe Harper), Ed Hughes (Fred Silvester), Lauren O’Neil (Ann Taylor), Nathaniel Parker (Jack Weatherill), Steffan Rhodri (Walter Harrison), Malcolm Sinclair (Humphrey Atkins) and Sarah Woodward (Lady Batley) with Robert Gilbert, Christopher Godwin, Peter Landi, Matthew Pigeon, Giles Taylor, Tony Turner and Orlando Wells.

Produced by Nica Burns, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions and Headlong in association with Jonathan Church Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and TC Beech Ltd.

A National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre production.

THIS HOUSE

Booking number: 0330 333 4811 Website: www.thishouseplay.com

Performance Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm Dates: Until 25 February 2017
Ticket Prices: £20, £35, £45, £55. Premium seats available.

On stage seating prices: £10.00, £20.00 and £35.00 incl. levy. (Plus £2 booking fees online and over the phone).

Garrick Theatre

2 Charing Cross Road

London WC2H 0HH

www.nationaltheatre.org.uk / 020 7452 3000

www.headlong.co.uk

Birmingham Stage Company celebrates 25th Anniversary with Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain!

Horrible Histories - More Best of Barmy Britain

Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain

This August, Birmingham Stage Company takes over the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End to present Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain, celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. This marks 12 years of Horrible Histories Live on Stage and 6 years in the West End. This special instalment of Barmy Britain follows the sell-out successes of Barmy Britain – Parts One, Two and Three as well as last years The Best of Barmy Britain and will feature more of the horribly best bits from all past productions plus a brand new scene about Shakespeare. More Best of Barmy Britain opens on 7 August with previews from the 4 August and runs until 2 SeptemberTickets go on sale via Amazon Tickets pre-sale on the 24 January and will go on general sale on 30 January.

The production will run underneath Birmingham Stage Company’s stage adaptation of David Walliams’ best-selling book – Gangsta Granny which opens at the Garrick on the 1 August with previews from 26 July and runs until 3 September. BSC have also just announced they will produce an adaptation of another of David Walliams’ hit stories – Awful Auntie which embarks on a national tour this September.

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead!

 So it’s time to prepare yourselves for a special production of Horrible Histories featuring MORE of your favourite characters from our barmy past – and a brand new scene with wordy Will!

Find out why the Romans were revolting! Could you survive the vicious Vikings? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England? Would you party with the Puritans? Clap along with crazy King Charles! Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? Vomit with the vile Victorians and prepare to do battle in the frightful First World War!

It’s history with the nasty bits left in!

Terry Deary, the creator of Horrible Histories, is one of Britain’s best-selling authors of the 21st Century and the tenth most-borrowed author in British libraries. There are around 50 Horrible Histories titles with total sales of 25 million in 40 countries. He is also the author of over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for young people including his series of booksDangerous Days.

Neal Foster is Actor/Manager of The Birmingham Stage Company. Since its foundation the BSC has staged over seventy productions and become one of the world’s leading producers of theatre for children and their families. During the BSC’s twenty-five year history, Foster has performed roles including Grandma in George’s Marvellous Medicine, the title role in Skellig at The New Victory Theatre, New York, Storey in Awful Egyptians (Sydney Opera House) and Rex in Barmy Britain (Garrick Theatre, Apollo Theatre and Sydney Opera House). As a director, his work includes Fantastic Mr FoxTom’s Midnight GardenThe Jungle Book (all national tours) and Barmy Britain – Part One! Two!, Three! (Garrick Theatre) and The Best of Barmy Britain (Apollo Theatre), all of which he co-wrote with Terry Deary. He has also adapted and directed the national tour of Gangsta Granny by David Walliams which will be opening in the West End this August as well as the recently announced tour of Walliams’ Awful Auntie.

Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain is directed by Neal Foster, design is by Jackie Trousdale, lighting by Jason Taylor, and sound by Nick Sagar, music by Matthew Scott and choreography by Kenn Oldfield.

Horrible Histories Live shows are created by Neal Foster and The Birmingham Stage Company. BSC has been touring Horrible Histories for twelve years throughout the UK, Ireland, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Other current productions include David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie.

Horrible Histories are recommended for ages 5 to 105! (106 year olds may not like it as much).

www.barmybritain.com

Twitter: @HHLiveOnStage

Facebook: birminghamstage

Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain                                                                                Listings

Garrick Theatre

2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH

Public Transport: Charing Cross & Leicester Square

Box Office: 0330 333 4811

www.nimaxtheatres.com

Ticket prices: £22, £19.50, £15

Booking fees apply for all on-line and phone bookings, and all tickets include a 50p restoration levy

There are no booking fees for tickets purchased in person at the theatre

4 August – 2 September

Press performance: 7 August 2pm & 4pm

Daytime shows:

Monday 2pm & 4pm

Wednesday to Friday 11.30am

Saturday & Sunday 10am & 12pm

Running time: 70 minutes

,

Interview with Playwright Phil Porter: “I often think about the song ‘A Woman’s Touch’ from ‘Calamity Jane’.”

Phil Porter

Phil Porter is a playwright, who has brilliantly just co-adapted ‘The Miser’ with Sean Foley, a West End production due to open at the The Garrick Theatre. Hurrah.

Phil won the Bruntwood Playwriting Prize for Cracks in my Skin and the Arts Council’s Children Award for Smashed Eggs (Pentabus Theatre). His recent plays include The Man With The Hammer (Plymouth) The Christmas Truce (RSC) Blink and A Mad World Masters (RSC) The Tempest (adaptation co-written with Peter Glanville for the RSC).

I thought it would be good to chat to him ahead last week. Here is what we discussed.

Phil Porter

Phil Porter

Hi Phil, where are we and what can you see?

Right now I’m in rather delightful surroundings. A rather posher hotel I would normally find myself in. I can see you mostly and a hanging light thing over the bar with lots of fake but nonetheless beautiful candles. It reminds me of an event I went to in a park in Brighton with lots of fire-based installations and rusty metal. Lots of Pagan things go on in Brighton in the Winter.

How is ‘Dry January’ going?

I’m not big on abstinence. I’m a vegetarian – maybe that one small sacrifice is what makes me feel entitled to drink as much wine as I fancy. If I was ever going to attempt a month dry it wouldn’t be January!

You’ve had quite a busy week, haven’t you?

Well, the first two days of this week I was in rehearsals for The Miser’. This is a script I’ve co-adapted with Sean Foley and which he is now directing, with quite an impressive starry West End cast – Griff Rhys Jones, Mathew Horne, Katy Wix and Lee Mack, who is making his West End debut. We open in Bath on February 8th for a couple of weeks of previews, then a week in Richmond, then into The Garrick following ‘This House’ from March 1st.

From what I’ve heard adapting is a bit of a ball ache. With this in mind is co-adapting a bit of a double ball ache?

I don’t even know if it is an adaptation really. Adapting suggests taking it from one medium to another. Molière wrote it as a play and we continue in that fashion. The first thing I did with Sean was work on ‘A Mad World My Masters’ for the RSC a few years ago. That was kind of easier because Middleton wrote it in English, and as a result there was only so much we could change without stomping on someone’s very clever original play. So we just edited the play to make room for some songs and put in a few new jokes. But when a play is written in a different language the process is inevitably a bit more interpretive. But it wasn’t a ball ache – it was great fun. Maybe normally there would be a difficult status thing where you are fighting with your co-adaptor over every line. But Sean is the director so if we were to disagree on something – and generally we don’t – I’d probably let it go because he is the one who has to bring the thing to life. If he has a strong sense of how he’ll make a particular line work I’m happy to follow his judgement on that. I think it works well. I’m there just thinking as a writer while Sean is sort of writing and directing at the same time.

Tell me about Sausages

Eh? Oh, I know what you mean by that. Something I said in an interview I did with the Soho years ago. I wrote my first play on a train to Plymouth when I was about seven. It was about some sausages trying to escape from a freezer – written in the 1980s when all sausages were frozen. Maybe it could come back as an experimental opera; a play for voices. Looking back I didn’t really understand what screenwriting guru Robert McKee would describe as ‘progressive complication’. The sausages simply found a hole in the corner of the freezer and escaped halfway down the first page.

You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing an advert for sausages. Anyway, what writers do you rate?

In terms of the playwriting giants my greatest hero is Federico García Lorca . He had an amazing poetic sensibility that I really love. I rate many of my contemporaries – Dennis Kelly and Mike Bartlett spring to mind. The way they can write so well, and also so much, is amazing and makes me jealous. Lucy Kirkwood is a fantastic writer. James Graham is another who is very brilliant and extraordinary prolific. And of course my pal Amy Rosenthal, a great writer who posseses a real understanding of comedy – a rare and much undervalued talent.

What are your thoughts on Hull as UK City of Culture 2017?

The choices often seem to be quite provocative. I remember when Glasgow was announced as a European City of Culture years ago, and people reacted in uproar: Glasgow?! As if it had been decided once and for all by a committee that Glasgow was Europe’s Most Cultured City. If that were the case then Hull as the UK City of Culture would be a perverse choice, but that’s not what it’s about. Overall, it’s a positive thing.

Contemporary arts centre Mac Birmingham has been hit by a 70% cut to its council funding, as part of major reductions inflicted on the city’s arts by its local authority. These are challenging times for new work, what are your thoughts on where the next Phil Porter will come from?

My very first play was on at the Mac. The landscape is obviously changing. It’s a big problem that places like Mac, where writers might find support as they’re starting out, are losing the funding they need to offer that support. Most writers, even if they’re really good, won’t get picked up by the big new writing venues, at least at first. It also damages the touring infrastructure, further limiting opportunities. And besides arts funding there are some even broader problems, in the way our society is changing, that make it very difficult for a writer from a remotely normal background to develop a career. I left university with no significant debts, moved to London, paid £250 a month in rent, and picked up a couple of commissions from new writing theatres who could afford to take a chance on an unproven writer. None of that would happen now. But on the more positive side, at least if you write a good play there are people genuinely committed to unearthing new talent.

Talk to me about your work with the RSC.

I’ve been working with the RSC for nearly 10 years now. I owe a lot to Pippa Hill, their Literary Manager, who commissioned me to write a five minute play for an event in 2008 and has been offering me bigger and bigger challenges ever since. This has culminated in ‘The Christmas Truce’ in 2014 and now ‘Vice Versa’ which is on in The Swan over the coming summer. It’s great to work somewhere with those kinds of resources. Having the support of a company like the RSC gives me a great push.

How do you feel about deadlines?

There are two kinds of projects. There are ones that are already in the brochure. Then my brain understands that it is no way a soft deadline; people are going to do this play and it needs to be ready for rehearsal and ready for an audience. Those deadlines I take very seriously. If it’s a more open commission I will always try to make the deadline or as near damn it. But I know from experience that what a theatre really wants is a play they can do rather than one that has arrived on time. I had a play on in Plymouth last year and I was quite late on the first draft deadline. For a little while I felt a bit like I was hiding which is the worst thing. If you owe someone a play you just have to keep the channels of communication open. As long as they know you’re working on it they’re generally fine. But it’s definitely a good thing career-wise to be known as someone who delivers on time.

What is your favourite theatre in London?

I still get very excited about going to The National. I think it goes back to that period when you start discovering theatre and you find this palace on the river with three plays going on a night and at least one of them is something that will completely blow your mind. I still get really excited about going to see a West End show. It’s funny doing the West End thing because as playwrights we are simultaneously taught to be slightly snooty about the West End but on the other hand if you get a West End transfer then you’ve made it.

Are West End ticket prices too high?

Undoubtedly. Some shows and some producers definitely take the piss more than others –  I’m pleased to say The Miser is relatively inclusive. I don’t understand the economics of it well enough to know why the inflation is so rapid. But yeah, it’s a crazy system.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE MISER

What’s your favourite musical?

I like musicals more than you might imagine. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for ‘Cabaret’. Every Christmas me and my girlfriend watch ‘Meet Me in St Louis’ and it gets me every time. And I often think about the song ‘A Woman’s Touch’ from ‘Calamity Jane’. Whenever I’m writing something and trying to think about how to transition quickly from one state to another I imagine Doris Day and her pal cleaning up that house. It’s the ultimate montage sequence – a very important artistic reference point for me.

Amazing. What have you got coming up in 2017?

We have the RSC show, ‘Vice Versa’, which is a Roman style comedy. I never wrote it as such but it’s starting to look like a Trump satire. Um, I’m writing a sort of futuristic musical for The Soho with a composer called Marc Teitler who wrote ‘The Grinning Man’. On a day-to-day basis I’m currently writing an adaptation of ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ for Joe Murphy to direct. Joe directed my play ‘Blink’ (Soho Theatre) and is directing ‘Woyzeck’ at The Old Vic this year. Then I have another commission for Plymouth and I’m trying to adapt my old play ‘The Cracks In My Skin’ into a film. But right now it’s mostly about ‘The Miser’ and ‘Vice Versa’

 

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Interview with Playwright James Graham: “I’m a human who doesn’t like or know how to talk about himself.”

James Graham
James Graham, photo by Steve Tanner

James Graham, photo by Steve Tanner

James Graham ‘mayhem’ (ie not mayhem at all)

So, I went along to a matinee of ‘This House’ at The Garrick Theatre. It’s pretty amazing. Later that day I met with the writer, James Graham, for a whiskey cocktail. Graham is a witty man, who is a curious mixture of mischief and innocence, and who has the youthful appearance of a Dorian Gray entity.

Fortunately, James is good at talking: about ‘This House’, about his place in the theatre universe, and about the physical demands of being a playwright in 2016.

Anyway, all playwrights are subject to the whims of fashion, going in and out of fashion according to fads for writing styles or categories of plays, or even the political climate. Politics aside, the vital element in the brilliance of This House’ is that the writing is of a phenomenally high standard: it is a prescient exploration of the mechanisms at play in government. Ultimately, there’s a clarity of vision that’s virtually unrivalled in the current theatre scene.

This House

This House. Click on the image to book your tickets.

This House premiered at the Cottesloe Theatre in September 2012, directed by Jeremy Herrin, and transferred to the Olivier in 2013 where it enjoyed sell-out runs with critical acclaim and admiration from current and former MP’s for his rendition of life in the Commons. It was broadcast internationally by NT Live and received nominations for the Evening Standard and Olivier Best Play awards. (‘FYI’ I’m calling it now, ‘This House’ is the greatest play written in the last five years.)

Studies of lying show that when telling a lie, most people are tempted to add a vast amount of detail to their stories; they believe that the more aspects they add, the more sound their stories will be. ‘This House’ does not feel dishonest, but you could argue that the suggested extent of this play’s familiarity is an illusion of sorts, or at least an example of sleight of hand.

Graham’s more recent work includes Privacy created with Josie Rourke for the Donmar Warehouse and receiving its New York premiere at the Public Theater this July, starring Daniel Radcliffe. His play Monster Raving Loony opened at the Theatre Royal Plymouth this year and transferred to Soho Theatre in May. The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse aired in real time on TV in the final 90 minutes of the 2015 polling day and was nominated for a BAFTA. His Channel 4 drama Coalition also aired during the election and won the Royal Television Society award for Best Single Drama. James has written the book for Finding Neverland with music by Gary Barlow. It opened on Broadway in April 2015. He remains a Writer in Residence at the Finborough Theatre. Bloody hell.

(There were lots of things covered; this is a definite cup-of-tea-and-a-biscuit job.)

What sort of human are you?
I’m a human who doesn’t like or know how to talk about himself. I’d say I am an inconsistent and uncertain person.

If they could invent a robot to replace you and do all the boring stuff political playwrights have to do, what would you get up to instead?
I’d love to write a novel; I have an idea for a fantasy adventure story set in New York and one is a time hopping piece.

So, let’s get political; is there anyone you’d like to pour boiling water over, he says
No… However, I would pour cold water over Boris Johnson; he needs some perspective and probably ought to have some discomfort.”

What’s your worst play? 
Hahahaha! Oh that’s a tough one. Only because it was the first play I ever wrote and I was still learning: ‘Coal not dole’ about the miners’ strike.

Amazing. What’s your best play? 
This House, I guess. I am relieved – that by accident or design – it’s proven itself able to survive the times.

If you don’t follow politics you’re uninformed, if you do follow politics you’re misinformed. What is the long-term effect of too much information? 
Democracy isn’t allowed to function, there is a conscious shift by some parties or media to use that as a tactic to distract or destroy any conversation.

Serious question: Baths or showers?
Oh, goodness. 100% showers. Baths are 100% evil, man. I mean, to sit their doing nothing for that period of time. No. Thank. You.

Is Nigel Farage a fictional character? 
In a way, yes; he’s a construct. I don’t believe he can possibly be a real person.

What are your three favourite apps? 
Right, The London Bus checker – I do use google maps but I think being lost sometimes can be a good thing. I love Pocket to save articles. SignEasy is amazing as I don’t have to post contracts and things!

Do you think some writers cheat when they’re working with people and go “oh I haven’t done any prep let’s just jam and let the vibes flow” or whatever it is people say in a creative scenario, when actually they’ve got a brilliant idea in their head that they’re going to pretend just suddenly appears as if by magic.
Yes, I do but it’s destructive – I remember the OVNV 24 hour plays you can always tell because the ones that are don’t normally feel as fresh or good.

Do you think drama schools should have diversity quotas? 
That’s a hard question and I understand arguments against and for them. The problem of lack of diversity, whether race or gender or class, is genuine and very serious. And if quotas can solve that problem then maybe that’s the way to go. The arts are a lot like politics – in that sense – it’s about representating a group of people you’ve failed.

What does Gary Barlow smell like? 
Oh, Heaven and the north.

Do you think people are too distracted by the internet these days?
Yes. Including me – I may switch off for a New Year’s resolution.

What were the last three things you Googled?
Okay, let me check, I’ll be totally honest:

  1. Reviews for The Missing
  2. Beyond the Waterfall A cocktail odyssey.
  3. Arts Education and Schools

 

what are your experiences of young writers programmes? 

I did the RC young writers programme – BBC writers room. Look at whatever your local theatre does get involved. NT Connections is astonishing if you’re a teacher or a writer.

Do you think it helps being friends with people in the industry because you can all sort of relate to what’s happening?
I don’t think it helps in terms of your own work. It’s psychologically and emotionally helpful yes.

Do you have anything special planned for 2017?
Well, I will finish ‘1984’. I want to stay in London more – cook and watch television and do London jobs based in this city. Just so I can be home for a while, which I miss.

*This House is currently gracing the West End in a limited run until 25 February 2017.*

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Mathew Horne will join Griff Rhys Jones and Lee Mack in The Miser in London’s West End

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Full casting has today been announced for a major West End revival of Molière’s classic comedy The Miser. The full cast, which includes Mathew Horne, join previously announced Griff Rhys Jones who returns to the West End stage after a five year absence and Lee Mack who makes his West End debut. The play has been newly adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter, and will be presented at Bath Theatre Royal and Richmond Theatre, prior to opening at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End on Wednesday 1st March 2017, with an opening night on Monday 13th March 2017.

The full West End cast includes: Griff Rhys Jones, Lee Mack, Mathew Horne, Saikat Ahamed, Ryan Gage, Simon Holmes, Andi Osho, Michael Webber, Ellie White and Katy Wix.

Griff Rhys Jones is a two-time Olivier award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian. On stage, he has appeared as Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! (West End), the title role in Charley’s Aunt (West End) and in Feydeau’s An Absolute Turkey (The Globe). In a long-lasting comedy partnership with Mel Smith, his television credits include Not the Nine O’Clock News (BBC), Alas Smith and Jones (BBC), The World According to Smith and Jones (ITV), Smith and Jones in Small Doses (BBC) and Smith and Jones (BBC).

Best known for television and stand-up work, Lee Mack is widely recognised as one of the country’s favourite comedians and has won multiple awards. He is the writer and star of hit BBC One comedy, Not Going Out, which has run for seven series and holds the accolade of being the BBC’s longest running sitcom.  He is a team captain on popular BBC panel show Would I Lie to You, the host of Duck Quacks Don’t Echo on Sky One and a regular guest on panel shows, including Have I Got News for You, Nevermind the Buzzcocks and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Lee has also toured the country with multiple sell-out stand up shows.

Mathew Horne has worked extensively in television where his credits include Are You Being Served?, Agatha Raisin, Worried About the Boy, Nan, Bad Education, Gavin & Stacey, Teachers and The Catherine Tate Show. His stage work includes Pride (Trafalgar Studios/ tour), Charley’s Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory/ Theatre Royal Bath) and Entertaining Mr.Sloane /Trafalgar Studios).

Saikat Ahamed’s recent theatre credits include Peter Pan (National Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich), Strictly Balti (UK tour), 101 Dalmatians (Bristol Tobacco Factory) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic). Television credits include Nadeem, Trollied, Being Human and Afterlife. Film work includes This Must be the Place and East is East.  

Ryan Gage’s television and film credits include King Louis XIII in BBC One and BBC America drama The Musketeers as well as the feature film series The Hobbit and the film Serial Thriller: Angel in Decay. His stage credits include Ghost Stories (Lyric/ West End), The Lawes of War (Royal Court) and numerous credits with the RSC.

Simon Holmes’ recent theatre credits include Ghost Stories (West End), Yes Prime Minister (Chichester Festival Theatre/ UK tour), Romeo & Juliet(Chocolate Factory) and The Cherry Orchard (Manchester Lowry). Film work includes V for Vendetta and Private Moments. Television credits include Doctors, Casualty, Silent Witness and Bad Blood.

Andi Osho has worked across stage, stand-up comedy, television and feature film. Her theatre credits include Breakfast with Mugabe (Theatre Royal Bath) and Yellowman (Theatre Royal Liverpool/ UK tour). She has performed on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy RoadshowStand Up For The Weekand Live At The Apollo. Recent television work includes Finding Carter, Psychoville, Life of Riley and The Andi O Show. Film credits include Swinging with the Finkels and Lights Out.

Michael Webber’s theatre credits include Cyrano (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Cause Celebre (Old Vic). His extensive film credits include Hysteria, Sherlock Holmes 2, The Scouting Book for Boys, Children of Men and Stormbreaker. Television work includes Black Mirror ‘The Waldo Moment’, What Remains, Little Dorrit, Wire in the Blood and Hustle.

Ellie White recently appeared in The Windsors on Channel 4. Other television credits include Carters Get Rich, Class DismissedMurder in Successville and House of Fools. Humans, her debut solo show, ran at Edinburgh Festival with the Invisible Dot. She also works on ITV 2’s current affairs comedy show @ELEVNISH and has filmed a comedy sketch pilot for BBC3.

Katy Wix is best known for her television work and has appeared regularly alongside Lee Mack in Not Going Out as Daisy. Her other television work includes Decline and Fall, Sherlock, Agatha Raisin, Miranda all for the BBC, Anna and Katy and The Windsors for Channel 4. She has also appeared on panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You. Her previous stage work includes Holes (The Invisible Dot) and Psister Psycho (Edinburgh Fringe). Her writing credits include Anna and Katy for Channel 4 and Bird Island for the BBC.

Sean Foley is an award-winning actor, writer and director. He co-founded The Right Size, creating over 10 original comedies for the theatre including the Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated production of The Play What I Wrote (Best Comedy 2002), Do You Come Here Often? (Best Entertainment 1999), and Ducktastic! (Albery Theatre – Best Entertainment nomination 2006). As director his work includes The Dresser, The PainkillerJeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Best New Comedy 2014), The Walworth Farce (The Olympia Theatre, Dublin), the multi Olivier-nominated The Ladykillers (Liverpool Everyman, Gielgud Theatre, UK Tour), A Mad World My Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company & Barbican), What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre), The Painkiller (The Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Arturo Brachetti – Change (Garrick – Best Entertainment nomination 2010) , The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Armstrong and Miller Show Live UK Tour and I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium). Foley’s first film Mindhorn was released this autumn.

Mark Goucher has previously collaborated with Sean Foley, most recently on The Dresser at the Duke of York’s Theatre, as well as on the hugely successful production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense which played in the West End and on tour and is currently under option for a Broadway season.

The Miser will be produced with long term producing partner Mark Rubinstein Ltd.