Tickets for the production (which is being staged in Christ Church Cathedral) sold out within a couple of days of going on sale – and there is, so rumour goes, a waiting list to go on the waiting list.
The professional actors and majority of the professional production team are all ex-Oxford students who are making their mark in the West End and beyond. Central to the production is Timothy Allsop as Thomas. When I met members of the cast and crew last week, I was impressed by how integrated the two groups were.
Tim was at pains to stress how well the actors were working together – irrespective of their backgrounds. This was echoed by Lucy Fyffe (a current student who is playing Third Priest) who told me of how much support she was getting from the professionals – giving her (and her fellow students) tips and tricks of the trade.
With only two weeks of rehearsal, Tom Littler has a challenge on his hands to bring this complex production – which also involves a newly composed score - together. He clearly relishes his task – taking the time to give all his actors the support and insight necessary to bring this verse drama to life in an awe-inspiring venue.
Eliot’s plays have somewhat dropped out of fashion but there is clearly an appetite for it here in Oxford. Will audience members be able to spot which of the cast are students and which are professionals? If all of those involved live up to their potential – the answer should be a resounding no.
I can’t wait!