Topdogs, Serkis & Suskind Lead Southwark's TenthDate: 29 August 2003
Southwark Playhouse's tenth anniversary season gets underway this week with the English-language translation of the multi award-winning 1996 Swiss play Topdogs, which runs from 3 to 20 September 2003, following previews from tonight (1 September).
Billed as a "caustically funny and sublimely relevant" comedy in today's world of fat cats, corporate corruption and anti-globalisation, Topdogs is set in an outplacement agent where a group of ex-executives learn the gritty reality behind phrases like "lean management" and "downsizing".
Author Urs Widmer is a leading editor, translator and literary critic in his native Switzerland. Already presented in some 22 countries, Topdogs has been translated by Patrick Driver and Patricia Beneker, who also directs. The cast at Southwark Playhouse are John Dobson, Patrick Driver, Mary Keegan, Ken Lodge, Julia Marsen and Timothy Morand.
Later in the month, actor Andy Serkis - who features on screen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and whose recent London onstage credits include Hurlyburly and A Lie of the Mind - will make his stage directorial debut with the one-man show, The Double Bass, performed by Bev Willis.
One of the most performed modern plays in Germany, The Double Bass, a humorous allegory of the downtrodden crying out to be heard in an orchestra, is written by Patrick Suskind, who's best known internationally as the author of the best-selling novel Perfume. Serkis, who trained as a visual artist, will also design the production, which runs at Southwark from 29 September to 11 October 2003.
Founded in 1993 on the grounds of a former Victorian tea and coffee warehouse in the south London borough and currently under the artistic directorship of Thea Sharrock, Southwark Playhouse has established itself as one of London's leading studio theatres, nominated three times for the Peter Brook Empty Space award.
- by Terri Paddock