Alfie Elkins: the working class Don Juan of the East End - the man about town with the world at his feet. And a new bird every Saturday night. It’s the height of the Swinging Sixties, and no one is embracing the spirit of free love more than Alfie. But all good things must come to an end and when his no-strings-attached life starts to come apart at the seams, it’s time for him to wonder ‘what’s it all about’?
Despite starting life as a radio play, Alfie was made world famous by Michael Caine in one of the most iconic films of the 1960s. It received five Oscar nominations and was voted in Total Film Magazine’s top 50 greatest British films of all time. Alfie was later remade with Jude Law as the eponymous anti-hero.
This famous piece is the most celebrated work by Bill Naughton (1910-1992). Naughton wrote the first ever play to be performed at the Octagon (Annie and Fanny) and his play Spring and Port Wine (2008) is still the best-selling production in Octagon history. Bill Naughton is a key figure in post-World War II English literary life. A popular writer, his work reflects significant changes in consciousness and society in 1950s and 1960s Britain.
Artistic Director David Thacker comments on his decision to bring this iconic piece of work back to the stage: “Bringing Alfie to the stage in the Bill Naughton’s home town is a real privilege for me as a Director, and also as a huge admirer of Naughton’s work. As is often the case with great writing, many of the issues that the play explores are still relevant today and I really hope that many people who have enjoyed the film versions of Alfie will come to see the play and experience something quite wonderful in the intimate setting of the Octagon auditorium.”
The cast includes Vicky Binns in the role of Annie, the naïve young girl who falls for Alfie, despite his cooling affections for her. Unlike the vulnerable character of Annie, Vicky is most well known for her role playing the strong-willed Molly Dobbs in ITV’s Coronation Street. Molly’s affair with married father Kevin Webster, and eventual death in the dramatic tram crash episode in 2010, rocked the Street and ensured her place in the cobbles' history. Vicky last appeared at the Octagon Theatre in the 24:7 Theatre Festival production Dave & Jeff Versus the Crazy Corpse Loving Consultant From Cardiothoracics in 2008.
Ricardo-Pearce appeared at the Octagon earlier this year in the role of yet another famous leading lover when he took on the role of Romeo in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. David also appeared in the Octagon production of Melvyn Bragg’s The Hired Man, which received the TMA Award for Best Performance in a Musical by an ensemble cast in 2010.
Alfie is at the The Dukes from 3 -7 April and at the Grange (Oldham Coliseum's temporary home) from 11 - 28 April.