Stewart & Everett Lead New Chichester Season
Date: 18 February 2010
The new season at Chichester Festival Theatre will include, as previously reported (See The Goss, 12 Feb 2010), a revival of Edward Bond's Bingo starring Patrick Stewart as William Shakespeare, and the premiere of Howard Goodall and Stephen Clark's long-rumoured musical version of Love Story.
Other highlights include the stage adaptation of classic sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, starring Henry Goodman and David Haig, and revivals of Pygmalion, starring Rupert Everett, and Ibsen's The Master Builder, in a new translation by David Edgar.
The 2010 season will also see a production of Broadway classic musical 42nd Street directed by Leicester Curve artistic director Paul Kerryson, and a double-bill of Sheridan's The Critic and Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound, directed by Chichester artistic director Jonathan Church. The venue's biggest hit of last year - Enron - will return for a short run in September.
According to press material: "With the possibility of the country emerging from the shadow of the recession, a sense of optimism is reflected in Chichester’s Festival 2010 season. The productions include satirical comedies, sumptuous dramas and a classic musical celebrating the glamour of Broadway."
In the Minerva
The season in the 280-seater Minverva commences, from 23 April to 22 May (previews from 15 April), with Angus Jackson's revival of Edward Bond's Bingo. The 1973 play depicts Shakespeare in the last days of his life - ageing, facing poverty and lacking creative energy, until his poetry is suddenly once again unleashed by the catastrophic circumstances he faces. Patrick Stewart returns to Chichester, where he was last seen in Festival 07’s Macbeth and Twelfth Night, to play Shakespeare. He will be joined in the cast by Catherine Cusack, Ellie Haddington, Kieron Jecchinis, Richard McCabe, John McEnery, Alex Price, Michelle Tate and Jason Watkins.
It's followed by the premiere of new musical Love Story, inspired by Erich Segal's best-selling novel (and subsequent 1970 film version), featuring music by Howard Goodall (The Hired Man, Days of Hope, Two Cities), a book by Stephen Clark (The Far Pavilions) and lyrics by Clark and Goodall. The production, which was first heard about in 2007 (See The Goss, 1 May 2007), is directed by Birmingham Rep artistic director Rachel Kavanaugh, who helmed The Music Man at Chichester in 2008.
Critics take centre stage with a double-bill of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Critic and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound (9 July to 28 August, previews from 2 July), directed by Jonathan Church. While Sheridan parodies the acting styles and theatrical conventions of the 18th century, in The Real Inspector Hound (written almost two centuries later), two critics blunder out of the auditorium and into the whodunit they have come to review.
Rounding off the season in the Minerva are two world premieres of new adaptations of classic works. First up, Howard Brenton's new adaptation of Robert Tressell's famous political novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, directed by Christopher Morahan (The Caretaker), runs from 19 July to 26 August (previews from 15 July). It's followed, from 15 September to 9 October (previews from 9 September), by a new version of Ibsen's The Master Builder written by David Edgar, directed by Philip Franks and starring Michael Pennington.
In the Festival Theatre
In the larger, 1200-seat thrust stage Festival Theatre, the season kicks off, from 20 May to 5 June (previews from 13 May), with the world premiere of Yes, Prime Minister, adapted for the stage by the writers of the original sitcom Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (who also directs). Prime Minister Jim Hacker (David Haig), Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby (Henry Goodman) and his Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley face a country in financial meltdown, with the only prospect of salvation coming from morally dubious allies – leading to deliciously comic consequences.
It's followed by Paul Kerryson's revival of Harry Warren and Al Dubin's classic Broadway musical 42nd Street (1 July to 28 August, previews from 21 June), which follows the story of a small-time chorus girl’s rise from obscurity to fame and features songs including “We’re In The Money”, “Keep Young And Beautiful”, “I Only Have Eyes For You” and the title number.
Next up is a “dazzling production” of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, featuring a return to the stage for film star Rupert Everett, who is reuniting with director Philip Prowse, with whom he previously worked at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre. Everett, whose films include My Best Friend’s Wedding and An Ideal Husband, plays professor of phonetics Henry Higgins and Stephanie Cole will play his mother. The casting of humble flower girl Eliza Doolittle is still to be confirmed.
Lucy Prebble's multi-award winning Enron, directed by Rupert Goold, returns to the Festival Theatre for a week-long run from 10 to 18 September with a new cast, as part of a national tour. The play, currently running in the West End, is also transferring to Broadway later in the year (See News, 17 Feb 2010).
Brian Friel's 1992 adaptation of Turgenev's classic novel A Month in the Country is revived from 30 September to 16 October (previews from 24 September). Directed by Jonathan Kent, the story charts a passionately eventful summer month on a country estate as Natalya struggles to recover after being consumed by a hopeless love for her young son’s tutor.
- by Theo Bosanquet
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