Frank Tollit (Kelly) has put up giant letters on the sides of buildings for over 25 years. From 40-foot yellow IKEAs to five-foot red COMETs, Frank has done them all. It’s been his talent… but not his ambition. That involves a very different sort of letters – literary ones. But a lifelong lack of success is driving him to the edge. However, not even in one of his wildest plots could Frank have dreamed that salvation would turn up in the shape of a clumsy teenager (Kearns) on work experience.
Originally written in 1991 as a one-act play called Absolutely Frank for Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre under Alan Ayckbourn, the full-length version of Sign of the Times toured the UK last year with Stephen Tompkinson and Tom Shaw. Firth’s other credits include Neville’s Island, The Safari Party and Olivier Award-winning Madness musical Our House on stage; and Calendar Girls, Blackball, Kinky Boots, Money for Nothing and Preston Front on screen.
Matthew Kelly won the 2003 Olivier Award for Best Actor for Of Mice and Men. His many theatre credits since have included Waiting for Godot, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Troilus and Cressida, Comedians and the musicals Spamalot and Lend Me a Tenor.
Best known as Ian Gallagher from Shameless and Ryan in Ken Loach’s film Looking for Eric, Gerard Kearns’ stage credits include A Thousand Yards, Hanky Park and Borstal Boy. Sign of the Times marks his West End debut.