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Cast: Tennant\'s Labour, Radio & Walters in Water

With Hamlet now bedded down in Stratford-upon-Avon (See Review Round-up, 6 Aug 2008), full casting has now been announced for the second David Tennant-led offering in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s summer/autumn season, Gregory Doran’s cross-cast production of Love\'s Labour\'s Lost, which runs in rep in the Courtyard Theatre from 8 October to 15 November 2008 (previews from 2 October).

Shakespeare’s comedy tells the story of the King of Navarre and the nobles of his court who vow to study, fast, sleep little and see no ladies for three years. But when the Princess of France and her ladies arrive in the kingdom, the Lords discover their resolve is more difficult to keep then they first imagined. Doran’s period production is the RSC’s first staging of the play since 1995.

Tennant (pictured) plays the charismatic Berowne, with Nina Sosanya (As You Like It, Fix Up on stage, Love Actually, Teachers on screen) as Rosaline. The production also features Edward Bennett (the Duke of Navarre), Sam Alexander (Dumaine), Tom Davey (Longaville), Oliver Ford Davies (Holofernes), Mariah Gale (the Princess of France), Katherine Drysdale (Katherine) and Riann Steele (Jacquenetta).

Also in the cast are: David Ajala, Ricky Champ, Ewen Cummins, Robert Curtis, Joe Dixon, Samuel Dutton, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadfield, Jim Hooper, Keith Osborn, Roderick Smith, Andrea Harris, Zoe Thorne and Natalie Walter. The production is designed by Francis O’Connor (set) and Katrina Lindsay (costumes), with lighting by Tim Mitchell, movement by the Michael Ashcroft and music by Paul Englishby.

In other play casting news, at the Tricycle Theatre (See News, 19 May 2008), Joseph Marcell and Danny Sapani will feature in the British premiere of Radio Golf, the final play in the late August Wilson’s epic ten-play cycle about the black experience in 20th-century America, which runs at the north London theatre from 6 October to 1 November 2008 (previews from 2 October). Also in the cast are Roger Griffiths, Julie Saunders and Ray Shell.

Written over 20 years, the cycle deals with the effects of slavery on successive generations of black Americans. Set in the 1990s, Radio Golf had its world premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 2005 just before Wilson’s death from cancer (See News, 3 Aug 2005), and transferred last year to Broadway. The Tricycle has presented five other British premieres of Wilson’s work over the past 15 years. The first was Joe Turner\'s Come and Gone followed by The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, King Hedley II and in 2006 Gem of the Ocean, the last four all directed by Paulette Randall, who also directs Radio Golf

Marcell has just been seen in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Let There Be Love at the Tricycle, where he’s also appeared in Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He’s also well known from his long-running role in the US TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Sapani’s many stage credits include Big White Fog, The Overwhelming, Macbeth, His Dark Materials, To the Green Fields Beyond and Neverland. Following the Tricycle, he’ll star in the world premiere of American Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out! at the Royal Court in November.

Prior to Wig Out!, another Tarell Alvin McCraney play, In the Red and Brown Water, the first instalment in his Brothers/Sisters trilogy, will receive its European premiere at the Young Vic (See News, 3 Jun 2008), running from 9 October to 8 November 2008 (previews from 2 October) and starring Ashley Walters, aka former rapper Asher D from So Solid Crew.

As a child, star athlete Oya is torn between her running dream and her sick mother; as a woman, she’s torn between two men and desperate to bear a child. Walters is joined in the cast by Ony Uhiara (as Oya), Adjoa Andoh, Camilla Beeput, Sheri-An Davis, John Macmillan, Cecilia Noble, Javone Prince and Abram Wilson. Walter Meierjohann directs.

Walters made his critically acclaimed stage debut in 2004 in Roy Williams’ Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads at the National and returned to the stage earlier this year in Oxford Street at the Royal Court. 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.

The 27-year-old McCraney made his UK debut at the Young Vic last year with The Brothers Size, which, ahead of a UK tour, returns to the theatre, where it will run - concurrently with In the Red and Brown Water - in the Young Vic’s Maria studio from 13 October to 8 November 2008 (previews from 8 October). Bijan Sheibani directs a new cast led by Daniel Francis, Tunji Kasim and Anthony Welsh.

- by Terri Paddock


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