First up is The God Botherers, which runs at the Bush from 21 November to 20 December 2003 (previews from 19 November). A dark, funny and edgy tale of foreign aid workers in Tambia, it's billed as an alternative Christmas entertainment, which is "not for the faint-hearted or politically correct".
The God Botherers stars David Oyelowo, who recently took the title role in Henry IV for the RSC and has been seen on screen in Spooks and Tomorrow La Scala. Oyelowo is joined in the cast by George Mackenzie (The Blood of Others, Death of Cool on stage, 20 Things to Do Before You're 30, Tlc, Border Café on television), Roderick Smith (seen last year in The Glee Club at the Bush and in the West End) and Sunetra Sarker (TV's Doctors, Emmerdale).
The Bush production is directed by William Kerley and designed by Bob Bailey. Bean's next play, Honeymoon Suite, will be an English Touring Theatre production directed by Paul Miller. It's due to open the new year at the Royal Court, where it will run in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 8 January to 7 February 2004, ahead of a regional tour.
Two of Bean's previous plays, Under the Whaleback and Toast, both premiered at the Royal Court, in the smaller Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. His other plays to date are Smack Family Robinson (Live Theatre, Newcastle) and The Mentalists (seen last year at the specially constructed Lyttelton Loft as part of the National's Transformation season of premieres). He was an NT writer in residence in 2001.
- by Terri Paddock