Pultizer Prize Winner Topdog Receives UK PremiereDate: 11 August 2003
Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog receives its UK premiere tonight (11 August 2003, following previews from 6 August) at London's Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. The two-hander, which stars American rapper Mos Def and Broadway veteran Jeffrey Wright, continues its strictly limited season up to 30 August 2003.
Topdog/Underdog relates the tale of two brothers and their obsession with the street con 'Three Card Monte'. Lincoln and Booth seethe with resentment and sibling rivalry, a modern Cain and Abel.
Parks won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Topdog/Underdog, which premiered at the Public Theater in autumn 2001 before transferring to Broadway, where it was nominated for Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor for star White. The Royal Court season is co-produced by Public Theater, which last year had huge success at London's Donmar Warehouse with Richard Greenberg's baseball-fixated Take Me Out, now itself a hit on Broadway.
Both Wright and Mos Def (who, as a musician has collaborated with the likes of Massive Attack) may be familiar to London audiences for their increasing number of film forays. White's screen credits include Ride with the Devil and Ali, while Def has been seen in the Oscar-winning Monster's Ball and the upcoming remake of Michael Caine classic The Italian Job.
Topdog/Underdog is directed by George C Wolfe, who last year directed Elaine Stritch in her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which transferred from Broadway to the West End's Old Vic. The new production is designed by Riccardo Hernandex, with lighting by Scott Zielinski and sound by Dan Moses Schreier.
- by Terri Paddock