In the Crucible
Opening the season in the Crucible Theatre is Pinter’s The Caretaker, in which a lonely drifter moves in with two brothers. Nigel Harman Guys and Dolls, EastEnders) stars in the new production directed by Jamie Lloyd, which runs from 17 October to 11 November 2006 (previews from 11 October).
It’s followed by Fiddler on the Roof, the 1964 Broadway musical set in Tsarist Russia where a poor milkman wants to marry off his five daughters to good homes. Multiple Olivier Award winner Henry Goodman (The Hypochondriac, The Birthday Party, Feelgood, Chicago) will play Tevye, the role made famous by Topol in the 1971 movie and on Broadway. Fiddler on the Roof is directed by Lindsay Posner and runs from 5 December 2006 to 20 January 2007 (previews from 30 November).
Shakespeare’s comedy of feuding brothers, concealed identities and unrequited love, As You Like It, runs in the Crucible from 7 to 24 February 2007 (previews from 31 January), directed by West. Two further productions are still to be announced for the Crucible, although the season will be curtailed ahead to schedule in building redevelopment starting next summer.
In the Studio
In the Studio Theatre, the Sheffield artistic director and his award-winning actor-father Timothy West (most recently seen in the West End in The Old Country and King Lear) will star opposite each other in Jonathan Munby’s new production of A Number, the Caryl Churchill two-hander about human cloning, which had its world premiere at the Royal Court in 2002 with Daniel Craig and Michael Gambon. Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, Samuel West explained that father and son have “been wanting to do something since I got the job, but owing to his unavailability, it’s been difficult to pin him down before now.”
The two Wests have only appeared together in one previous stage production, English Touring Theatre’s 1997 staging of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, in which Samuel played Hal to Timothy’s Falstaff. A Number runs from 25 October to 11 November 2006 (previews from 20 October).
(Father and son will also be joined by mother, actress Prunella Scales, for a one-off performance of Harold Pinter’s 1981 radio play Family Voices on 6 November as part of a Pinter festival – including readings, talks, political debates and a cricket match – to coincide with the mainstage production of The Caretaker. West says: “We hope that it turns into a proper celebration of our greatest living playwright.”)
Fin Kennedy’s How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found receives its world premiere in the Studio from 27 March to 24 April 2007 (previews from 22 March). The play won the 2005 Arts Council John Whiting Award for New Theatre Writing, and is directed by Ellie Jones. When a young executive reaches breaking point and decides to disappear, he pays a visit to a Southend seafront fortune teller. West describes the new play as “astounding … it’s one of the most exciting things of the season”.
Creative development, more announcements
The creative development programme of work features two new plays for children, which will tour schools in South Yorkshire: Rani Moorthy’s Handful of Henna receives its world premiere in the Crucible Theatre on 22 and 23 June 2007, before touring to schools from 25 September to 10 November; Neil Duffield’s Leopard tours from 17 April to 19 May 2007, before transferring to the Studio Theatre from 22 to 26 May.
Commenting on the season overall, West said: “All three stages will see exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking shows; classic and contemporary work which we hope will delight our regular visitors and encourage new audiences…. I’m looking forward to announcing the two final plays in the season and confirming some exciting casting in the next few days and weeks.”
- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock