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Cast: Ashley Walters on Oxford St & Black Watch

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Ashley Walters (pictured), aka former rapper Asher D from So Solid Crew, will return to the stage after a four-year absence to star in the world premiere of Levi David Addai’s new comedy Oxford Street at the Royal Court (See News, 8 Nov 2007), where its limited season runs from 7 to 31 May 2008 (previews from 2 May) in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.

Is Oxford Street pave with gold? At Total Sports, security guard Kofi and his workmates are making sure everything runs smoothly, easing the daily grind with plenty of jokes and chat about the future. Young or old, they all want more from life. The only difference is how they’ll go about getting it.

Kofi is played by Nathaniel Martello-White, most recently seen at the Young Vic in the Olivier-nominated The Brothers Size. Walters plays a new staff member, who shares a past with Kofi.

Walters made his critically acclaimed stage debut in 2004 in Roy Williams’ Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads at the National. As an actor, he also starred in the film Bullet Boy, for which he won the Best Newcomer award at the British Independent Film Awards, and has appeared on television as regular Billy Bond in Hustle. During his rap success with So Solid Crew, Walters was briefly jailed for handgun possession.

Also in the Oxford Street cast are Amelia Lowdell, Cyril Nri and Shane Zaza. The premiere production is directed by Dawn Walton and designed by Soutra Gilmour. Levi David Addai’s playwriting debut, 93.2FM, was first staged at the Court in 2005 and revived in 2006. His other work includes House of Agnes for Paines Plough.

In other casting news, the company for the long-awaited London premiere of the 2006 Edinburgh hit Black Watch has been confirmed (See News, 22 Aug 2007). Gregory Burke’s play – commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland and directed by John Tiffany – runs at the Barbican Theatre from 24 June to 26 July 2008 (previews from 20 June) as part of a new UK and international tour.

The 2008 cast is: David Colvin, Paul James Corrigan, Ali Craig, Emun Elliott, Jack Fortune, Jonathan Holt, Michael Nardone, Henry Pettigrew, Paul Rattray and Nabil Stuart.

Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on interviews conducted by Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the “war on terror” and what it means to make the journey home again.

Black Watch is designed by Laura Hopkins, with sound by Gareth Fry, lighting by Colin Grenfell, costumes by Jessica Brettle and video by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for Fifty Nine Productions Ltd. The production’s awards to date include a South Bank Show Award, a Scotsman Fringe First and a Critics’ Circle Award (Best Director for Tiffany).

Black Watch’s other UK dates as part of its new tour are: Glenrothes (27 March to 5 April), Glasgow (11 to 18 April), Warwick (24 April to 3 May), Manchester (7 to 10 May) and Blaenau Gwent in Wales (15 to 17 May).

- by Terri Paddock


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