Trevor Nunn is to direct Rob Brydon, Nigel Harman and Ashley Jensen in Alan Ayckbourn’s A Chorus of Disapproval opening at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the Autumn. Jessica Ellerby, Barrie Rutter, Paul Thornley and Susan Tracy will join previously announced company members Teresa Banham, Daisy Beaumont, Georgia Brown, Rob Compton, Matthew Cottle and Steven Edis.
Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G. Bartner & Norman Tulchin and Adam Kenwright, A Chorus of Disapproval begins previews on 17 September 2012 with booking open until 5 January 2013. Press performances are 25 September at 7.30pm, 26 September at 7.30pm and opening night on 27 September at 7.00pm. Reviews are under embargo until 28 September. Designs are by Robert Jones, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Fergus O’Hare and music direction by Steven Edis. This production continues Sonia Friedman's collaboration with Ayckbourn, having previously presented his Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre and his The Norman Conquests on Broadway.
The Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society’s production of The Beggar’s Opera is going off the rails, that is 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. Classic songs fill the air as the drama on stage is mirrored by the romantic rivalry and small town squabbles causing a stir in the wings of this ambitious local show.
Rob Brydon (Dafydd ap Llewellyn), who is making his West End acting debut in A Chorus of Disapproval, studied at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama before joining BBC Wales as a radio and television presenter. He first came to the public’s attention in 2000 with the television shows Marion and Geoff and Human Remains, winning British Comedy Awards for both. Since then his extensive comedy credits have included I’m Alan Partridge, Little Britain, Live at the Apollo, Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive, QI, Have I Got News For You, Gavin and Stacey, for which he was BAFTA nominated, Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis, The Trip and Would I Lie To You?. His television acting credits include Oliver Twist, Heroes and Villains: Napoleon, Kenneth Tynan: In Praise of Hardcore and Marple and his self-titled, BAFTA nominated TV chat show which is currently in its third series on BBC2.
On film he has been seen in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 24 Hour Party People, MirrorMask, A Cock and Bull Story and the big screen version of The Trip. Brydon has worked extensively on the radio with appearances on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and on April Fool’s Day in 2011 he hosted Radio 2’s Ken Bruce Show in character as Ken Bruce for the whole show. In 2009, he completed an eighty-seven date tour of the UK with his stand-up show, Rob Brydon Live, which included a three-week run in London’s West End. He returned to the stage in the Autumn of 2011 alongside Kenneth Branagh in The Painkiller at The Lyric in Belfast. Also in 2011 Brydon released his autobiography, titled Small Man in a Book which he made into a nationwide tour. He will star in the BBC Paralympic drama Best of Men alongside Eddie Marsan which will air mid August ahead of the Paralympic Games. The 90-minute feature tells the story of Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a German doctor whose use of sport to treat patients in the 1940s led to the birth of the Paralympics.
Nigel Harman (Guy Jones) won a 2012 Laurence Olivier award and Whatsonstage award for his portrayal of Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. His other theatre credits include School for Scandal for the Theatre Royal Bath, Harold Pinter’s Celebration for the Gate Theatre, Dublin, Sam Shepard’s True West for Sheffield Theatres, Public Property at the Trafalgar Studios, Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre, The Common Pursuit for the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Caretaker for Sheffield Theatres/Tricycle, The Exonerated at Riverside Studios and Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse. His other musical theatre credits include Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre, Eddie in Mamma Mia at the Prince Edward Theatre and Mickey in Damn Yankees at the Adelphi Theatre. On television Harman played Dennis Rickman in the BBC soap EastEnders and Sam in Hotel Babylon as well as roles in Miss Marple, City of Vice, The Outsiders and Plus One. On film his credits include Telstar, Patience and Blood Diamond.
British Comedy and BAFTA award-winning Ashley Jensen (Hannah Llewellyn) returns to the theatre having recently enjoyed a hugely successful career on television playing 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. Having trained with the National Youth Theatre 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 Theatre as well as many productions for Glasgow Citizen’s and Tron Theatres. Her recent film credits include The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, Arthur Christmas, Gnomeo and Juliet, A Cock and Bull Story and Topsy Turvy.
Teresa Banham (Enid Washbrook) has previously worked with Trevor Nunn on both Measure for Measure and Blue Angel at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her other stage credits include playing the title role in Anna Karenina for Shared Experience for which she won the Evening Standard and London Fringe awards for Best Actress and The Heresy of Love and The White Devil and The Herbal Bed also for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her television credits include Robin Hood, Silent Witness and the Governor in Doctor Who.
Daisy Beaumont’s (Fay Hubbard) theatre credits include Enlightenment for Hampstead Theatre, Boeing-Boeing at the Comedy Theatre, Alan Ayckbourn’s Virtual Reality for the Stephen Joseph Theatre as well as Private Lives and The Twelve Pound Look also for the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Her television credits include Star Stories, A Touch of Cloth, Great Night Out, The Border and New Tricks. On film her credits include Foster, Swinging with the Finkels and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.
Georgia Brown (Bridget Baines) trained at LAMDA and most recently appeared in New Cross, one of Touchpaper Television’s Coming Up films for Channel 4. She has also appeared in The Bill for ITV and has performed her own show on the Edinburgh Fringe and the London comedy circuit. A Chorus Of Disapproval marks her West End debut.
Rob Compton’s (Crispin Usher) theatre credits include Christmas in New York at the Prince of Wales Theatre, the UK tour of All the Fun of the Fair, As You Like It and Merlin and the Woods of Time for Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, the English Touring Theatre’s production of Great Expectations at the Watford Palace and A Christmas Carol at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Matthew Cottle (Ted Washbrook) has worked extensively with Alan Ayckbourn, recently appearing in his productions of Neighbourhood Watch and Dear Uncle for the Stephen Joseph Theatre and Taking Steps at the Orange Tree. His other stage credits include The Habit of Art for the National Theatre and Racing Demon for Sheffield Theatres. On television he is probably best known for playing Martin in the cult 90’s comedy, Game On. His other television credits include Holby City, Spooks and Eastenders. His film credits include Blessed, Bright Young Things and Chaplin.
Steven Edis (Mr Ames) is also the Music Director for A Chorus of Disapproval. Edis has composed and arranged music for film, television and theatre. His recent theatre credits include The Lion In Winter, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Flare Path for the Trevor Nunn season at the
Theatre Royal Haymarket, Birdsong at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Inherit The Wind and The Entertainer for the Old Vic, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Music Man for Chichester Festival Theatre and The Merchant of Venice and The Royal Hunt of the Sun for the National Theatre.
Jessica Ellerby’s (Linda Washbrook) theatre credits include Triptych for Southwark Playhouse, Word Play 2 for Theatre503, Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre and Fanta Orange at the Finborough Theatre. Her film credits include Get Him to the Greek, Magpie, Hollow and Svengali. On television she has been seen in The Bill and Eastenders.
Barrie Rutter’s (Jarvis Huntley-Pike) theatre credits include Henry IV, Henry V, Coriolanus and The Taming of the Shrew for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Mysteries, The Crucible, Guys and Dolls, The Oresteia, The Rivals, Animal Farm, Martine, The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus for the National Theatre and Jack Lear for the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Rutter is the Artistic Director and founder of Northern Broadsides, with which he has toured with Richard III, The Merry Wives, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Antony and Cleopatra and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus. Recent productions include Romeo and Juliet, The Blood of Dracula, King Lear, The Mysteries, Much Ado About Nothing, Oedipus, Macbeth, The Merchant Of Venice, The Comedy of Errors, Sweet William, War Of The Roses, The Tempest, Lisa's Sex Strike, Medea and The Game. Barrie Rutter directed the critically-acclaimed production of Othello, with Lenny Henry in the title role.
Paul Thornley (Ian Hubbard) is currently performing in London Road at the National Theatre. His other theatre credits include Kiss Me Kate, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, Spend, Spend, Spend for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Noises Off at the National Theatre and in the West End and Private Fears In Public Places for the Stephen Joseph Theatre. His film credits include Metamorphosis; The Somnambulists and Les Miserables and on television he has been seen in series 1, 2 and 3 of Life Begins, The Brief, Green Wing, Foyle’s War, Ashes to Ashes, Mutual Friends and Above Suspicion.
Susan Tracy’s (Rebecca Huntley-Pike) theatre credits include The Relapse, Three Sisters. Anna Christie and The Merry Wives of Windsor for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Much Ado About Nothing for the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Long Day's Journey into Night at the Cambridge Theatre Company, Anything Goes at the National Theatre and at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, A Passage to India for Shared Experience on a UK tour and at BAM in New York, Richard II and Inherit the Wind for the Old Vic and The Deep Blue Sea and Playhouse Creatures for Chichester Festival Theatre. Her television credits include Midsomer Murders, The Stars Look Down, Born and Bred and The Diary of Anne Frank.
Olivier and Tony award-winning playwright Alan Ayckbourn has written more than 75 plays, over half of which have been produced in the West End as well as on Broadway. Ayckbourn was Artistic Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough from 1972-2009 and was an Associate Director at the National Theatre from 1986-88. He was awarded a CBE in 1987 and in 1997 was knighted for services to the theatre.
Trevor Nunn was the longest-serving Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1968 to 1986). During that time he directed most of the Shakespeare canon, as well as Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables. He returned to the RSC to direct King Lear and The Seagull. From 1997 to 2003 he was Director of the National Theatre where his 21 productions included award-winning revivals of The Merchant of Venice, Summerfolk and The Cherry Orchard, as well as Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. He has directed the world premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard and The Woman in White as well as Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Coast of Utopia and Rock 'n' Roll. His more recent theatre credits include A Little Night Music for the Menier Chocolate Factory, in the West End and on Broadway, Cyrano de Bergerac for Chichester Festival Theatre, Richard II and Inherit the Wind for The Old Vic and Birdsong at the Comedy Theatre. As Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company Nunn directed Flare Path, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Tempest and The Lion In Winter.
Nunn recently directed Kiss Me Kate for Chichester Festival Theatre, which will transfer to the Old Vic in November.
The world premiere of A Chorus of Disapproval was directed by Alan Ayckbourn 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.
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