The two illustrious actors lead a notable cast in the world premiere of Mike Poulton’s new version of Eduardo De Filippo’s The Syndicate, a dark and thrilling comedy about the Italian underworld. Touring to Bath from Monday 5 September for one week, the sixteen-strong cast also features Oliver Cotton and Cherie Lunghi, and are directed by Sean Mathias.
Don Antonio (McKellen) rules the Naples underbelly with a rod of iron, providing a form of rough justice for the criminals of Naples who have no other access to the law. When a respectable but poor young man decides to murder his father, he visits Don Antonio for advice. The Neapolitan ‘Godfather’ emerges from the shadows to make the young man’s father an offer he can’t refuse.
Sir Ian McKellen is surely one of the greatest actors of his generation, his distinguished career includes theatre credits for Macbeth, Waiting for Godot and King Lear. Since he started acting in 1961, he has worked non-stop on stage and screen and has performed extensively for the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, New York and most recently in Sean Mathias’s Waiting for Godot, which played Bath in 2009.
Michael Pennington has been a leading British actor for thirty years, with theatre credits including The Master Builder (Chichester Festival 2010) and Collaboration and Taking Sides (Chichester Festivals 08 and 09, and West End). His numerous previous performances at the Theatre Royal Bath have included, most recently, Little Nell and The Bargain in 2007 and The Best of Friends in 2006.
The finest, funniest and most loved playwright in Italy, Eduardo De Filippo’s plays also include Napoli Milonaria, Filumena and Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Mike Poulton’s adaptations include the current production of Luise Miller at the Donmar Warehouse. His other credits include Morte d’Arthur (RSC 2010), Canterbury Tales (Northern Broadsides 2010), Wallenstein, The Cherry Orchard, The Father, Uncle Vanya (All Chichester Festival) and Fortune’s Fool (which transferred to Broadway).
Sean Mathias was Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Haymarket from 2009–10 where productions included Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, a production which toured to Bath in 2009. Previously Mathias directed Ian McKellen as Uncle Vanya, the Captain in Dance of Death and as Widow Twankey in Aladdin twice.
The Syndicate appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 5 to Saturday 10 September.