Television presenter and actress Liza Tarbuck (pictured) will make her West End debut this spring, when she joins Joan Plowright (aka Lady Olivier, the widow of Laurence Olivier) and Olivier Ford Davies in Franco Zeffirelli's revival of Luigi Pirandello's Absolutely!! Perhaps, in a new version by Rose author Martin Sherman (See News, 19 Mar 2003). The production opens for at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre on 20 May 2003 (previews from 7 May), initially booking for 16 weeks.
Absolutely!! Perhaps is adapted from Pirandello's Right You Are If You Think So, which received its London premiere in 1925 under the title And That's the Truth at the Lyric Hammersmith with Claude Rains.
A dreamlike comedy, Absolutely!! Perhaps is set in a small town where there are some enigmatic newcomers: the dark, intense, Ponza; his shy, rather eccentric mother-in-law Signora Frola (Plowright); and his reclusive young wife. No one understands their bizarre living arrangements, but everyone has a different theory and no one refuses to countenance any other explanation. The wry and elegant Laudisi (Ford Davies) mischievously offers to establish the truth - and takes delight in his neighbours' growing frustration.
The 16-strong ensemble of Irish and British actors also features Darrell D'Silva as Ponza (The Lying Kind, Further Than the Furthest Thing, Closer, Antarctica), Gawn Grainger (Tale from Hollywood), Anna Carteret (Major Barbara, An Ideal Husband), Brid Brennan, Sian Brooke, Lolly Susi and Barry Stanton.
Though she was a member of the National Youth Theatre for three years as a teenager, trained at RADA and got her Equity card as an assistant stage manager for Theatre de Complicite, Liza Tarbuck (daughter of comedian Jimmy Tarbuck) has found fame on television, hosting numerous programmes including Without Prejudice, The Big Breakfast, She's Gotta Have It and The Weekend Show. Her acting credits include two series as the title character in BBC comedy-drama Linda Green, while on stage she's appeared in tours of Absurd Person Singular and Eva. Absolutely!! Perhaps will mark her West End debut.
The production also marks Zeffirelli's return to the London stage after a 25-year absence as well as his reunion with Plowright, who he's worked with: on stage, at the National Theatre on 1974's Saturday, Sunday, Monday, co-starring Olivier, and 1977's Filumena Arturano, which won Plowright the SWET Award for Best Actress; and on screen, in Tea with Mussolini, Jane Eyre and Callas Forever.
The prolific Italian novelist, short story writer and dramatist Luigi Pirandello is best known to British theatregoers for plays like Six Characters in Search of an Author, Naked and Henry IV. The West End production of Absolutely!! Perhaps is presented by Sonia Friedman Productions for the Ambassador Theatre Group, Act Productions, Dede Harris/Sharon Karmazin and Annette Niemtzow.
- by Terri Paddock