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Reality TV's Keith & Niamh Head Brave New Musical

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BBC reality TV fans should book their tickets to Edinburgh now. Niamh Perry (pictured), one of the finalists from this year’s I’d Do Anything to cast Oliver!, and Keith Jack, runner-up on last year’s Any Dream Will Do to cast Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, are teaming up to star in a new musical, entitled Only the Brave, which receives its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, running at the George Square Theatre, the festival’s new musical theatre venue, from 31 July to 25 August 2008.

Set during the Second World War, Only the Brave is inspired by real-life stories of men and women who “lived, loved, and fought for freedom”. In it, Jack plays Charlie, a wounded British soldier, and Perry is Belle, the French nurse who takes care of and falls in love with him.

Edinburgh native Keith Jack eventually lost out to Lee Mead on Any Dream Will Do to play the title role in the West End production of Joseph, but he went on to star as the Narrator, alongside fellow Dream contestant Craig Chalmers, in producer Bill Kenwright’s tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Jack’s debut album is released this summer.

At 17, Belfast-born Niamh Perry was one of the youngest contestants on I’d Do Anything, competing to win the role of Nancy – which eventually went to Jodie Prenger (See News, 2 Jun 2008) in Cameron Mackintosh’s upcoming revival of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at the West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Perry was the eighth of the final dozen voted off by the public. Only the Brave will mark her professional stage debut.

Only the Brave has music by Matthew Brind, lyrics by Brind and Stephen Coleman and book by Coleman and Rachel Wagstaff. Ten years in development, the musical came about after Matthew Brind joined his grandfather, a World War Two veteran, on an emotional return to the cemeteries of northern France.

The world premiere is presented by Daniel Sparrow (who was also behind the Whatsonstage.com Award-winning adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother), Patrick Gracey and Old Vic Productions.

- by Terri Paddock


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