Buggy Revisits Shaw's Island as UK Tour Bears ArmsDate: 6 August 2003
Niall Buggy will lead the cast in a major production of George Bernard Shaw's rarely performed John Bull's Other Island. Directed by Oxford Stage artistic director Dominic Dromgoole, the revival will have a limited season at north London's Tricycle Theatre from 15 September to 25 October 2003 (previews 11 September).
Written on the request of WB Yeats and first performed at the Royal Court in 1904, John Bull's Other Island satirises the national stereotypes of Ireland and England, while also exploring familiar Shavian themes of capitalism and class.
Well-meaning English property speculator Tom persuades his Irish-born business partner Larry to pay a visit to the Emerald Isle after 18 years, with the aim of developing a golf resort in a backward rural community. But their plans change drastically on arrival.
Olivier Award winner Buggy has recently been seen on stage in Mr Nobody, The Weir and An Inspector Calls. He's joined in the cast of John Bull's Other Island by Ewen Cummins, John Dougall, David Ganly and Michael O'Hagan. The production is designed by Michael Taylor, with lighting by Matthew Eagland.
Born in Dublin in 1856, George Bernard Shaw was a firm believer in home rule for Ireland. He moved to London in 1876 and became a founder member of the Fabian Society. During his career, he wrote 50 plays in total, including Mrs Warren's Profession (which had a centenary revival, starring Brenda Blethyn in the West End last year care of Peter Hall), Man and Superman, Major Barbara, Back to Methusaleh, Pygmalion (the basis for Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady) and St Joan, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1925.
At the same time as the Tricycle presents John Bull's Other Island, Shaw's 1894 classic Arms and the Man will also be revived for a major, eight-week autumn tour. The production, which stars Duncan Preston and Gwen Taylor, opens at Norwich's Theatre Royal on 17 September 2003 before continuing to seven further venues.
Arms and the Man is set in the Balkans, where a young woman, lying in bed dreaming of her lover, is disturbed by the arrival of a mysterious man who proceeds to change every romantic idea she had about love, war and men.
The production is directed by Timothy Sheader, designed by Robert Jones and presented on tour by Matthew Byam-Shaw with The Touring Partnership. Following Norwich, it continues to Brighton, Richmond, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Plymouth and Cardiff, where it concludes its current schedule on 8 November 2003.
- by Terri Paddock