Emma Noble Stars in Popcorn Tour from 22 SepDate: 15 September 1998
As the West End cast of Ben Elton's violently satiric comedy Popcorn wound up its oft-extended run at the Apollo Theatre on Saturday (12 September), a new cast readied itself to launch a seven-month, 25-stop national tour. The touring production of Popcorn opens Tuesday 22 September at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, Essex.
Commenting on the long-awaited UK tour, Elton said: 'It has been a source of sadness to me that, so far, my play has been seen in more German cities than British. All that is now changing. The producer (Phil McIntyre) has mounted a lavish tour with a cast and set which equals the high standards he achieved with his West End production. As the author, I feel very proud that so much creative talent has been assembled in order to make Popcorn a success.'
Popcorn tackles the issue of film violence and its effect on people. Bruce Delamatri, a Tarantino-type director, returns triumphant from the Oscars only to have his fun spoilt when he and his family and friends are held hostage at gunpoint by his biggest fans, the notorious 'mall murderers', who hatch a televisual plot for shirking responsibility of their crimes.
The touring Popcorn features an all-new cast which Laurence Boswell, who has directed both this and the West End production, says 'may prove to be the strongest cast we've had so far'. Emma Noble, the blonde television presenter best known for her engagement to the son of former prime minister John Major, stars as model-turned-actress Brooke Daniels. She is joined in the touring cast by John Bowler as Delamatri, Paul Brennan and Clara Salaman as the 'Natural Born Killer'-like mall murderers, Liza Sadovy (who last appeared in the West End as cross-dressing jazz musician Billy Tipton in The Slow Drag) as ex-wife Farrah, Craig Pinder as producer Karl and Sasha Pick as daughter Velvet.
Design and costumes are by Jane Clough, lighting by Jon Linstrum and sound by John Leonard.
Popcorn premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse in September 1996 before transferring in April 1997 to the Apollo where it ran to packed houses for 18 months. It won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy as well as seven Moliere nominations in France. The play has been credited with drawing in new, younger audiences to the theatre.
The touring production of Popcorn will visit 25 UK cities including Reading, Brighton, Sheffield, York, Canterbury, Bath, Cambridge, Belfast, Plymouth, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Oxford, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.