First casting announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Boy In The Dress

Casting kicks off with the first announcement for The Boy in the Dress, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) new musical which runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 8 November.

David Walliams’ heart-warming comedy telling the story of star striker and fashion lover Dennis comes to the stage for the first time in a musical adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill, with new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.

Rufus Hound plays Dennis’ dad; Irvine Iqbal plays Raj, the shopkeeper; Natasha Lewis plays Dennis’ best friend Darvesh’s mum, and Forbes Masson plays Mr Hawtrey, the headmaster from Dennis’ school.

Rufus recently appeared with the RSC in The Provoked Wife and Don Quixote. His other theatre work includesDusty (Tour); Present Laughter (Chichester); Wind in the Willows (Palladium Theatre); What the Butler Saw (Leicester Curve);  The Wars of the Roses (Rose Theatre Kingston); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre); Neville’s Island, Present Laughter (Chichester); One Man Two Guv’nors (National Theatre/West End); Utopia (Soho Theatre).

Irvine Iqbal is making his RSC debut. His previous theatre work includes Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Aladdin – The Musical (Prince Edward Theatre); Branded (Criterion Theatre); Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre); World of Walliams (Harper Collins Publisher Ltd); Mr Stink (UK tour); Little Shop of Horrors (Jersery Opera House).

Natasha Lewis was last on the RSC stages in 2018’s original musical Miss Littlewood. Her other theatre includes Brassed Off (New Vic Theatre); Call Me Fury (Alchymy Festival, Oxford); Aladdin (Hackney Empire); Priscilla Queen of the Desert/Cinderella (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch); Peter Pan in Scarlet (New Vic Theatre/Oxford Playhouse); Our House – The Madness Musical (UK tour); Dick Whittington & His Cat (Cheltenham Everyman Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors, Rope & Dear Brutus (Pitlochry Festival Theatre).

Forbes Masson is an RSC Associate Artist whose previous work with them includes As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Ahasauerus, Morte d’Arthur, A Tender Thing, The Grain Store, Henry V, Henry IV Part II, Henry VI Part I, II & III, Richard II, Richard III, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Hamlet, Pilate. His other theatre work includes Bartholomew Fair, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe); Summer and Smoke, Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s); Little Shop of Horrors (Regents Park Open Air Theatre).
Gregory said of the production:

“It is tremendous to welcome such a talented cast of new and established RSC company members to our new musical production of The Boy in the Dress, particularly one with such a strong background of excellent musical theatre performances and first-class comic talent. The cast join an already impressive line-up of UK and international creatives, including comic writer, performer and beloved children’s book author David Walliams and chart-topping songwriters Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. I am excited to work together with them over the coming weeks to bring this life-affirming, funny story to the RST stage.”


The production is designed by Robert Jones, an Associate Artist of the RSC whose credits include: Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Herbal Bed, Venus and Adonis, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Henry VIII (and New York) and The Winter’s Tale.

He has designed more than thirty West End and Broadway productions, including:

Fiddler on the Roof, City of Angels, Quiz, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Ragtime, The Sound of Music (also Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, China, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), The Secret Rapture, Calendar Girls (and UK tour), A Chorus of Disapproval, Much Ado About Nothing, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Wizard of Oz (also Toronto and US tour).

Choreography is by Aletta Collins. Formerly an Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House Aletta has worked on a wide array of theatrical productions as choreographer and director. Most recently as choreographer for the Manchester Royal Exchange’s production of West Side Story – the first professional UK staging to feature new choreography.

Previous productions include:

The Hairy Ape (The Old Vic/Park Avenue Armory); The Twilight Zone (Almeida/West End); Bend It Like Beckham, Made In Dagenham, Jesus Christ Superstar (West End); The EffectHis Dark Materials (National Theatre); Sweet Charity (Royal Exchange Manchester); Anna Nicole (ROH/BAM).

Lighting is by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothius and Tom Marshall.