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Cast: Dahl Tales, Leigh's Ecstasy, Bush Schools

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Casting has been announced for the premiere of Roald Dahl’s Twisted Tales, based on the author’s renowned short stories for adults, which opens at the Lyric Hammersmith on 24 January 2011 (previews from 14 January).

Adapted by The League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson (Ghost Stories) and directed by Polly Findlay (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Thyestes), the production will continue to Northern Stage and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse following its London run.

The cast will feature: Nick Fletcher (The White Guard, NT); Selina Griffiths (After Life, NT, BBC’s Cranford); Alexandra Maher (Our Country’s Good, Watermill); George Rainsford (Days of Significance, RSC); Trevor White (Red Bud, Royal Court) and in the role of the young boy Jonathan Danciger (Billy Elliot The Musical) and Larry McCartney (Thyestes, Arcola).

According to press material: "In Roald Dahl’s Twisted Tales nothing is quite as it seems; pleasant old ladies have sinister hobbies, widows seek sweet revenge on the recently departed and a simple gambling game has alarmingly high stakes. Expect the unexpected."

Casting has also been announced for Mike Leigh’s own revival of his early comedy Ecstasy at Hampstead theatre, which runs from 15 March to 9 April 2011 (previews from 10 March).

The play, which premiered at the Hampstead in 1979, marks not only a rare stage return for Leigh but also the first time that the theatre and filmmaker has returned to one of his works.

The cast will feature: Sinead Matthews (who has worked with Leigh on Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky), Sian Brooke (Joseph K, Wanderlust), Daniel Coonan (The Woman in Black), Claire-Louise Cordwell (Orphans), Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) and Craig Parkinson (Complicité’s Measure for Measure).

The production marks the continuation of Leigh’s relationship with Hampstead Theatre, which started with his renowned Abigail’s Party which premiered in 1977, followed by Ecstasy, Goose-Pimples and Smelling a Rat.

Ecstasy centres on a group of old friends who come together in a Kilburn bed-sit in 1979, when the Winter of Discontent is over and Margaret Thatcher’s regime is about to transform the country. This new revival is designed by Alison Chitty, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by John Leonard.

Finally, further casting has been confirmed for the Bush Theatre’s forthcoming Schools season, which features two plays - by John Donnelly and Steve Waters - about the current education system.

Donnelly’s The Knowledge (press night 17 January 2011) and Waters’ Little Platoons (24 January) run in rep from 12 January to 19 February 2011.

The Knowledge is a “sharp and shocking” account of a failing school, whilst Little Platoons is being written in response to the first acts of the coalition government and aims to examine the motivation behind a group of parents starting their own free school in West London.

The ensemble cast will feature Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt and Brick Lane’s Christopher Simpson alongside Claire Price, Joe Cole, Kerron Darby, Holli Dempsey, Mandheep Dillon, Otto Farrant, Susannah Harker, Richard Henders and Andrew Woodall.

Alongside the plays, the Schools season will also feature a series of talks, debates, and events which will examine education in Britain today.


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