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Rob Brydon makes West End acting debut in Ayckbourn's Chorus

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Comedian Rob Brydon will make his West End acting debut in a revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s am-dram comedy A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre later this year.

Directed by Trevor Nunn, the production also includes Whatsonstage.com Award-winner Nigel Harman and Extras star Ashley Jensen, and runs from 17 September 2012 to 5 January 2013.

A Chorus of Disapproval is produced by Sonia Friedman, who also presented Ayckbourn's Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre and his The Norman Conquests on Broadway.

Tickets, which go on sale today, will include over one hundred £10 seats for every performance, many bookable in advance, a move which echoes the inaugural season of the Michael Grandage Company.

The cast will also feature Teresa Banham, Daisy Beaumont, Georgia Brown, Rob Compton, Matthew Cottle and Steven Edis, who is also the show’s musical director.

Ayckbourn’s comedy centres on the Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society’s production of The Beggar’s Opera which is going off the rails until a handsome but shy young widower Guy (Harman) joins the group. An instant hit with the company’s ferociously zealous director Dafydd (Brydon) and the show’s leading ladies, including Dafydd’s wife Hannah (Jensen), Guy soon gets more than he bargained for as he discovers that all the best action happens off-stage.

The world premiere of A Chorus of Disapproval was directed by the playwright at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 1984 with a cast including Lenox Greaves, Russell Dixon and Alwyne Taylor.  The London premiere at the National Theatre in 1985, also directed by Ayckbourn, starred Bob Peck, Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton. The production then transferred to the West End the following year.

The new production will mark Rob Brydon’s West End acting debut. Brydon rose to fame in the 2000 BBC series Marion and Geoff and Human Remains, since when he has starred in numerous comedies including Gavin and Stacey, Live at the Apollo and The Trip. Last year he appeared at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast alongside Kenneth Branagh in The Painkiller.

Nigel Harman recently won a Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award for his portrayal of Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. His other theatre credits include Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre, The Common Pursuit for the Menier Chocolate Factory and Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly. Harman can next be seen on stage in School for Scandal at the Theatre Royal Bath opening next month.

Ashley Jensen returns to the theatre having recently played Maggie opposite Ricky Gervais in Extras, for which she was also Emmy nominated, Christina McKinney in ABC’s Ugly Betty and Olivia in the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose.  Her previous theatre credits include Attempts on Her Life, Uganda and Storming for the Royal Court and King Lear and Howard Katz for the Royal Exchange.

A Chorus of Disapproval is designed by Rob Jones, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Fergus O’Hare.


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