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Betwixt Enchants Trafalgar, Takeaway for Stratford

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Ian Mcfarlane's musical comedy Betwixt! will open at Trafalgar Studios 2 on 28 July (previews from 26 July) for a limited run to 20 August 2011.

The show, which Mcfarlane also directs, features a cast of characters including sex-crazed nymphs, hunchbacks, cross-dressing mutes, dancing reporters, enchantresses and a disembodied head with a Bavarian accent.

Betwixt! tells the story of New York writer Bailey and his flamboyant roommate Cooper who are catapulted into a strange enchanted world. Their arrival fulfils a prophecy telling of a brave hero and a great queen and they are tasked with searching out a fading daytime TV star who is the only hope for saving a pregnant princess from losing the throne. The musical promises "sitcom-styled dialogue and a toe-tapping score".

The show premiered at the Kings Head Theatre before being staged for one night at the Ambassadors Theatre in October 2008. The concert style production starred Tim Howar in the role of Bailey alongside a cast which included David Bedella, Sheridan Smith, Abi Newberry, Rosemary Ashe, Sarah Lark, Stefan Booth and Roberta Mann. The upcoming production will feature several new songs with full casting still to be announced.

Betwixt! has choreography by Grace Harrington and is produced by Christopher D Clegg.

The Theatre Royal Stratford East will premiere new musical Takeaway, billed as the "first British Chinese musical." The show plays the east London venue from 16 June (previews from 10 June) to 9 July 2011.

The production builds on the Theatre Royal's recent work developing and staging new musicals, which has resulted in shows such as The Big Life - the first Black British musical in the West End; Reggae musical The Harder They Come - currently in pre-production for its second international tour after a successful West End run in 2008; Whatsonstage.com Award-winning musical Come Dancing and British Asian show Britain's Got Bhangra, a co-production with Rifco Arts.

Set in East London Takeaway is a fun and fantastical story that highlights a young British Chinese experience. The musical tells the story of Eddie Woo - a dreamer who's juggling two girlfriends as well as working day and night in his father’s Chinese takeaway. Woo also harbours a secret passion for Tom Jones and is never happier than when he escapes his humdrum life, transforming into the super confident star.

The show's creative team is led by New York-based Robert Lee (book and lyrics) and Hong Kong-based Leon Ko (music). It is directed by Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director Kerry Michael.

The company is led by British Chinese actor Stephen Hoo with Marcus Ellard, Natasha Jayetileke, Pik-Sen Lim, Windson Liong, Gloria Onitiri, Shelley Williams, Gabby Wong and Ozzie Yue.

Takeaway has set and costume design by Foxton, musical direction by Robert Hyman, choreography by Jason Pennycooke, lighting design by Paul Anderson and sound design by John Leonard.


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