Casting has been announced for Bill Kenwright’s new West End production of Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How The Other Half Loves. The 1969 classic – the first of Ayckbourn’s plays to be staged on Broadway – returns to London to play the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Wednesday 23 March 2016 – Saturday 25 June, with a press night on 31 March.
As Bob and Fiona clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses’ intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Featherstone become stuck in the middle, falsely accused of adultery and with no idea as to how they’ve become involved. The plot culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time, after which the futures of all three couples seem in jeopardy…
Olivier Award nominated star of stage and screen Nicholas Le Prevost will play ‘Frank Foster’ opposite Jenny Seagrove as ‘Fiona Foster’. Jenny starred in Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular in the West End in at the Garrick in 2007, and is best known for her role as ‘QC Jo Mills’ in ITV’s Judge John Deed.
Jason Merrells - one of TV’s most popular actors from roles in Lark Rise to Candleford, Cutting It and Waterloo Road, and recently seen as ‘Juror Number 8’ in Twelve Angry Men, will play ‘Bob Phillips’ opposite Tamzin Outhwaite as ‘Teresa Phillips’, known for her numerous lead television roles such as ‘Melanie Owen’ in EastEnders and ‘Rebecca Mitchell’ in Hotel Babylon. She returns to the Haymarket after her starring role in Sweet Charity, and it was Ayckbourn who gave Tamzin her first professional role in a play twenty years ago in Absent Friends at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Matthew Cottle, star of BAFTA nominated Game On, and most recently seen in Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business at the National Theatre in 2014, will play ‘William Featherstone’ opposite Gillian Wright as ‘Mary Featherstone’. Gillian is nationally known for her award-winning role as ‘Jean Slater’ in EastEnders.
At turns heart-wrenching and hilarious, Ayckbourn’s tale of social graces and personal misunderstanding remains one of the celebrated writer’s most famous comedies.
An extraordinary success on opening in the West End in 1970 at the Lyric Theatre, How The Other Half Loves ran for a staggering 869 performances, delighting critics and audiences alike. Fondly loved as one of Ayckbourn’s most popular plays; How The Other Half Loves is receiving its first major West End revival.
2016 marks Alan Ayckbourn’s 55th year as a theatre director and his 57th as a playwright. To date he has written 80 plays - the latest of which will open at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough in 2016 - and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards.
Major successes include: Relatively Speaking, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In the past four years, there have been revivals of Season's Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre and in the West End productions of Absent Friends, A Chorus of Disapproval and Relatively Speaking.
In 2009, he retired as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph, where almost all his plays have been and continue to be first staged. In recent years, he has been inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to theatre.
How The Other Half Loves is directed by theatre director and biographer Alan Strachan. Alan has directed plays in New York, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but the majority of his work has been in London. He was Artistic Director of the Greenwich Theatre in London for over a decade, and has worked with, amongst others, Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Penelope Keith, Maureen Lipman CBE, Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Alec Guinness. He came to early prominence as the of Alan Ayckbourn’s chosen director, and he has been involved with Ayckbourn's theatre at Scarborough for many years.