Mr Puntila Transfers to Albery, 22 DecDate: 27 November 1998
Following sell-out performances in Islington, North London last month, the Almeida's critically acclaimed production of Bertolt Brecht's Mr Puntila and His Man Matti will play 20 performances from 22 December 1998 to 9 January 1999 at the Albery Theatre, the company's West End residence.
Lee Hall's new version of Mr Puntila and His Man Matti had its world premiere in August during the Almeida's residency in Malvern. It went on to Scotland's Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival and then toured nationally for four weeks before landing at the Almeida's Islington home in October. Kathryn Hunter's production of Brecht's rarely performed satirical comedy is a co-production between the Almeida and The Right Size, aka Hamish McColl and Sean Foley, the comic duo who star in the play.
Mister Puntila (McColl), is lord of all he surveys. But his fortune can't sate his raging thirst which splits him right down the middle. When he's drunk, he is friendly and humane; when he's sober, he is cruel and egotistical. Lurching wildly between these two extremes, Puntila plays havoc with the entire social order - his workers, his peers, his daughter's marital arrangements and, above all, with the loyalty of his long-suffering chauffeur, Matti (Foley).
For the last nine years, the Right Size have created a string of comic theatre shows, including Fight to Finland, Moose, Stop Calling Me Vernon, Hold Me Down and Do You Come Here Often?, which had an extended run at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre in January 1998.
The Right Size are joined in the cast by Hayley Carmicheal, Jim Findley, Harry Gostelow, Golda John, Chris Larner, Samantha McDonald and Joy Richardson. Designs for Mr Puntila and His Man Matti are by Tim Hatley, costumes by Johanna Coe, lighting by Ian Sommerville, music by Chris Larner and sound by John A Leonard.
Mr Puntila and His Man Matti plugs a Christmas gap in the Almeida's scheduling at the Albery Theatre. The Racine double bill of Phedre and Britannicus, currently in repertory, finishes 12 December to head to Broadway, and the new 1999 schedule, which features a new version of Maxim Gorky's Vassa followed by David Hare's Plenty starring Cate Blanchett, begins 20 January.