Northern Broadsides' associate director Conrad Nelson and playwright Deborah McAndrew return to the Liverpool Playhouse with The Grand Gesture. Based on Nikolai Erdman's rarely-performed comic classic The Suicide, this pitch-black, break-neck farce of a man living on the edge comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 12 to Saturday 16 November.
Simeon Duff is desperate. After a failed last-ditch attempt to solve his problems by learning to play the tuba, he finally decides there's only one way out: suicide.
As word spreads of Simeon's intentions, the whole community wants in on the act. The death of Duff need not be in vain, with every cause in town – whether it be for politics, religion, or the rising price of fish – wanting to claim it as their own. With the clock ticking, and martyrdom up for grabs, a farce like no other plays out before the final curtain.
This is the latest classic foreign comedy playwright Deborah McAndrew has transferred to a contemporary British setting, following Accidental Death of an Anarchist and A Government Inspector. Speaking about The Grand Gesture, she said: "It seems like a very macabre subject, and the comedy is very black at times, but ultimately it affirms both the dignity and worth of every human life, and the collective responsibility we have for each other."
Michael Hugo (Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Northern Broadsides) leads the ensemble cast as Simeon Duff, with local actress Samantha Robinson as his wife Mary. Samantha has appeared regularly at the Everyman and Playhouse, including 2008's Proper Clever, 2009's Three Sisters on Hope Street, and most recently in 2011's Dead Heavy Fantastic.
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