Set in the 17th century, Nolan’s play - based on fact and first seen at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2001 - centres on Valentine Greatrakes (Campion), who apparently had the ability to heal through touch. When he returns from a stay in England, where he wowed the King, Greatrakes’ Irish castle is besieged by people in search of cures. He seeks inspiration from a travelling theatre troupe and a young woman in whose singing he hears the voice of God.
Since Stones in His Pockets, the Irish-born Campion’s London stage credits have included The Quare Fellow for Oxford Stage Company at the Tricycle and The Cosmonaut’s Last Message… at the Donmar Warehouse where, following Blackwater Angel, he’ll return in April to appear with Clare Higgins in Frank McGuinness’ new version of Racine’s Phaedra (See News, 27 Jan 2006).
Campion is joined in the cast of Blackwater Angel by Fiona O'Shaughnessy (Angel), Stephen Cavanagh, Kevin Colson, Riona Kearney, Aaron McCusker, Vicky Oden, Laura Pyper, Joseph Rye and Catherine Walker. The production is directed by Mark Giesser and designed by John Scheffler with costumes by Neil Knudsen and music by Joe Townsend.
Following a sell-out season at Hampstead’s New End Theatre, Sue Kelvin (pictured) will reprise her performance as Sophie Tucker, “the original Red Hot Mama”, at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, north London. Sophie Tucker's One Night Stand will have a limited seven-week season from 22 March to 30 April (previews from 15 March).
During her 60-year career, singer Sophie Tucker appeared many times at the London Palladium and was described by the Beatles as “our favourite American Group”. A pre-feminist, she was one of the first white singers to commission black composers to write for her, notably Sheldon Brooks, whose song “Some of These Days” became one of her most popular.
Sophie Tucker's One Night Stand coincides with the 40th anniversary of Tucker’s death in 1966. Kelvin is joined in the cast by Michael Roulston, who has also done the show’s musical arrangements. The musical biography is written by Chris Burgess (Dishonourable Ladies) and directed by Susie McKenna, with musical supervision by Mark Warman, design by Lotte Collett, costumes by David Light and lighting by Philip Gladwell.
- by Terri Paddock & Caroline Ansdell