Horse & Carriage concerns an eager bridegroom who has to contend with a reluctant bride, a suicidal rival, a wild sailor and a pet seal as part of an accelerating nightmare. Rhys Jones plays the hapless hero, with Deborah Norton directing Garden’s new version. The trio have worked together previously for TV, radio and stage.
Rhys Jones attended Cambridge University and became a member of the prestigious Footlights theatre society. Later he was an integral part of the Not the Nine O’Clock News team, whose barbed contemporary comedy was hailed as the most innovative set since Monty Python. Rhys Jones’ stage credits include The Revengers Comedies (Strand Theatre), Wind In the Willows (National), The Alchemist (Lyric Hammersmith), An Absolute Turkey (Globe) and The Front Page (Donmar Warehouse). In 1981 he formed the production company TalkBack with fellow performer Mel Smith, with whom he has appeared regularly on TV. TalkBack productions include Knowing Me Knowing You, Murder Most Horrid and They Think It’s All Over.
Graeme Garden was born in Aberdeen but also later starred as a Footlights regular. His rise to public prominence came alongside Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie in the legendary offbeat comedy The Goodies. He is also a popular regular on radio panel games. Playwright Georges Feydeau was born in 1862, and his other farces include A Flea In Her Ear and Hotel Paradiso.
Horse & Carriage is preceded by two brief, but notable, offerings at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. From 10 October, Peter Brook brings his acclaimed Le Costume. Seen earlier this year at London's Young Vic, the drama is set in Johannesburg wherein an unfaithful wife is forced to treat a suit like a special guest. From 16 October, the venue hosts Abi Morgan’s acclaimed Tiny Dynamite - a Frantic Assembly and Paines Plough offering which is currently on tour following its Edinburgh Fringe run.
Elsewhere, there’s a return for WYP director Jude Kelly’s version of Singin In the Rain, winner of the 2001 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production when it transferred to London and the Natioanl Theatre. The show returns from 10 December 2001, with choreography by Stephen Mear. Kelly follows this from 11 February 2002 with her direction of The Wizard of Oz. Live action and a virtual cast of hundreds can be expected, with John Kane adapting the work from the motion picture screenplay.
- by Gareth Thompson