Shared Experience Recreate Magic in Soho, 15 JanDate: 26 November 2001
Following a successful regional tour, Shared Experience brings its latest - Bryony Lavery's adaptation of Angela Carter's novel The Magic Toyshop - to London. The production will have a limited run at Soho Theatre form 15 January to 9 February 2002.
Carter's story opens with a teenage girl, Melanie, walking through a moonlit garden in her mother's wedding dress. However, her romantic idealism is overturned when she is sent to live in a dank London house, peopled by strange relatives. In an environment governed by fear and lust, she chances upon the truths behind a Magic Toyshop.
Angela Carter (1940-1992) was one of the most acclaimed writers of her day, with a strong edge of magic realism infusing her works. Steeped in the lore of ancient and modern folk tales, her writing career also included the 1984 film The Company of Wolves. Her final novel was Wise Children, with Nights At the Circus and The Passion of New Eve among her other literary creations.
Prolific playwright and director Bryony Lavery's recent stage work includes Goliath (Bush Theatre, London) and A Wedding Story (Birmingham Rep, Soho Theatre), Frozen (Birmingham Rep), for which she won the Barclays Award for Best New Play. Lavery knew Angela Carter and has recently adapted Wise Children for BBC Radio 4.
The Magic Toyshop is directed by Rebecca Gatward, whose production of The Three Birds at the Gate Theatre last year received a Time Out award, and is designed by Liz Cooke. The touring cast, who are expected to reprise their roles for the London run, were Hannah Watkins (as Melanie), Damian O'Hare (Finn) and Penny Layden (Margaret).
Shared Experience Theatre, under the leadership of joint artistic directors Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale, has performed throughout the UK and in over 20 countries and has been described by the British Council as a "flagship organisation". Renowned for both its adaptations of literary classics and its knack of giving physical form to characters' inner lives, the touring company's many acclaimed productions include Mother Courage and Her Children, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, True West, Heartbreak House and The Bacchae. Shared Experience was last seen in the West End earlier this year with a revival of its acclaimed adaptation of George Eliot's Mill on the Floss.
- by Terri Paddock