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Tricycle Premieres Edgar & Hutchinson’s Topless

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The Tricycle Theatre’s new spring/summer season, which launches this week, includes the London premieres of new plays by both David Edgar and Ron Hutchinson.

The season kicks off tomorrow night (4 April 2008, previews from 1 April) with Edgar’s Testing the Echo, which runs at the Tricycle until 3 May as the penultimate stop in a national tour (See News, 15 Jan 2008).

Described as “a fascinating tapestry about the twisting road to becoming British”, Testing the Echo centres on a group of immigrants to the UK. Secretly, Tetyana wants to escape her marriage. Mahmood gets kidnapped for his own good. And the motley crew in Emma’s English class are all looking for something, whether it’s a passport - or a fight. As the day of their ceremony approaches, Emma’s students begin to challenge some of her dearest-held beliefs.

Edgar’s other plays include Pentecost, Playing with Fire, Destiny, Continental Divide, Albert Speer, The Prisoner’s Dilemma and, perhaps most famously for the RSC, his two-part adaptation of Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, which was recently revived in the West End care of Chichester Festival Theatre.

The cast for Testing the Echo are Teresa Banham, Kirsty Bushell, Sushil Chudasama, Farzana Dua Elahe, Ian Dunn, Robert Gwilym, Syrus Lowe and Sirine Saba. The Out of Joint production is directed by Young Vic associate director Matthew Dunster and designed by Paul Wills.

June sees the London premiere of Topless Mum by Ron Hutchinson, whose 2004 comedy Moonlight and Magnolias was a Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated hit at the Tricycle last year. The new piece is a satire on tabloid journalism. When a soldier returns home from Afghanistan, he tempts a newspaper editor with dubious photos that seem to expose outrageous acts of torture. How far can the story be spun to stop the real truth leaking out?

Hutchinson’s other plays include Beau Brummell, Pygmies in Ruins, Head/Case, Lags, Risky City, Says He, Says I and, most notably, Rat in the Skull, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1984.

Topless Mum premiered in April 2007 at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, which is co-producing this London run with the Tricycle and Imagineer Productions. It’s directed by Caroline Hunt, designed by Conor Murphy and runs from 2 to 28 June 2008 (previews from 28 May).

In between the two premieres there will also be: an adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (7 to 10 May), the latest in the Tricycle’s series of plays performed by professional lawyers; and Malcolm Taylor’s revival of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (12 to 24 May), originally written for radio in 1954. A one-off fundraising event, in aid of Reprieve and the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture, will be held on 18 May with special guests including Vanessa Redgrave.

- by Terri Paddock


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