Gasping Embarks on New National Tour, 22 SepDate: 15 September 2000
Ben Elton's 1990 satirical comedy on corporate culture, Gasping, embarks on a new UK tour next week. The touring production, starring Neil Stacy and Ian Reddington, opens Friday 22 September at Plymouth's Theatre Royal and continues to a further six venues until 25 November.
Gasping was the debut play from award-winning writer and comedian Elton whose other stage credits include Blast from the Past and Popcorn, which won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Gasping was first performed at the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1990, starring Hugh Laurie and Bernard Hill. In 1998, Elton worked with director Paul Jepson to update the script for a New Labour setting and a run at the Palace Theatre, Watford. It toured earlier this year, starring Stacy along with David Haig.
Bright young marketing exec Philip hatches the idea which soon starts to earn serious money for his boss, Sir Chiffley Lockheart. Following a ruthless advertising campaign, the new 'suck and blow' - a machine for personalised, de-toxed, pure air - takes off. But overnight success leads to a global crisis. When it comes, ultimately, to cash flow versus air flow, Philip discovers his conscience.
Stacy returns as Sir Chiffley. His other stage credits include the double bill of Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound and Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy in the West End and on tour. His numerous TV appearances include Duty Free, The House of Windsor and Three Up Two Down. Ian Reddington, who plays Philip, has starred in numerous plays and TV dramas but is probably best known for his role as Tricky Dicky in TV soap Eastenders.
Haig and Stacy are joined in the cast by Barry Cooper and Rachel Shelley. Gasping is directed by Paul Jepson with designs by Christopher Oram and is presented on tour by Kenneth H Wax Ltd. Following Bromley, Gasping will visit Reading, Jersey, Poole, Belfast, Bradford and Salisbury.