Best Theatre This Month (September 2010) - Time Out
English reserve in The Remains of the Day
Marvin's London Theatreviews
It may be a tiny theatre but it has a giant production in this programme. It is a play with music taken from the subtle and sensitive book that was made into the most heart rending film starring Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins.
Does such a delicate story sustain the transition absolutely. The set is amazingly captivating using the space to recreate rooms in the stately home of Darlington Hall that are not just a box set. The cast are all hand picked in both their acting singing and dancing. The adaptation flows sustaining the mood of the times with music that is melodic in its songs yet lively enough for the dancing and jolly enough in the music hall rendition of The End of the Pier. It is all woven together in fluid strokes. The staging is inventive, abounding with whispering servants and the lovers that never come to be Stephen Rashbrook as Stevens, Lucy Bradshaw as Miss Kenton could not be bettered in the West End.
It is a gem
that shines its light and lingers on. The story
centres on Lord Darlington, a Nazi sympathizer who held his political meetings at
Darlington Hall. The English formality and reserve as epitomised by the butler Stevens
freezes him from shedding tears upon his fathers death or opening his heart to the
housekeeper Mrs Kenton. His deep sense of loyalty, putting service before his personal
feelings, being more a part of Darlington Hall than part of a marriage leads him into a
loneliness never counted upon as the times change. Lord Darlington is forced to sell the
estate and Mr Farraday, an American without English tradition, takes over leaving Stevens
serving in a world he no longer knows. And yet he cannot commit himself to Mrs Kenton when
the door is opened to him. It is a quiet tragedy of two misplaced lovers surrounded by the
vitality of the young servants who effervesce with life. The soul of Stevens is touched by
life but never lived. Hats off to this accomplished company and to the Union
Import, import and export to the West End, Lincoln Center, BAM, Kennedy
of 'The Remains of the Day Musical' by Bernie Whelan for EXTRA! EXTRA!
was difficult, at first, to accept the idea of Kazuo Ishiguro's wonderful book as a
musical. The Merchant Ivory film was as close to the book as I imagined it was possible to
get, with Anthony Hopkins making the role of the quintessential butler, Stevens, very much
his own among a brilliant cast. Yet the key theme of declining British hegemony, as played
out in Darlington Hall at key moments just before the Second World War in 1935, looking
back through the eyes of Stevens (Stephen Rashbrook), from around the time of the Suez
Crisis in the 1950s, is rendered perfectly on stage in this musical production.
|THE REMAINS OF THE DAY Autumn 2010 -
Union Theatre, SE1 OPENED 2 SEPTEMBER
Kazuo Ishiguro wrote a Booker Prize-winning novel around the servants of Darlington Hall, home to Lord Darlington and the scene of a post-war scandal that destroyed his reputation.
We are more concerned, here, with the upright and impeccable butler, Stevens, who has been in Lord Darlington's employ for many years and is convinced his master can do no wrong. We first meet him in 1956, working for the new owner of the Hall, Mr Farraday, a wealthy American of considerably less formality. Mr Farraday offers Stevens a holiday, since he will be away himself, plus the use of his car.
Stevens decides to visit his old colleague with the excuse that her letters sound sad, despite her marriage, and begins to think back to the earlier days when Darlington Hall was run like a machine with a full staff. The story is told in Flashbacks with scenes as Stevens remembers them, so possibly sometimes inaccurate.
"their relationship is frozen in formality"
Into this household came a new housekeeper, Miss Kenton, who liked to do things her way and accordingly, Stevens finds fault and attempts to correct her in polite and formal language. However, this has no effect on Miss Kenton who equally politely and equally formally, fights back. Their exchanges are often very funny but their relationship is frozen in formality despite the heat beneath.
Upstairs, Lord Darlington has involved himself in politics and become a Nazi sympathiser. He tells Stevens that the two Jewish maids will have to be sacked and despite Miss Kenton's fervent protestations and disgust, this goes ahead. The scene where the two girls, Ruth and Sarah, leave is poignant in the extreme and their song, 'Close Your Eyes' is deeply moving.
With the exception of'A Day That Will Never Come'which has additional lyrics by Stephen Rashbrook and 'At the End of the Pier; a comedy number which has music and lyrics by musical director, Richard Bates, the entire book, music and lyrics is credited to the young (and extremely gifted) composer Alex Loveless. A previous piece covered in our magazine was his very successful Dracula which will be seen again.
- Lynda Trapnell
|Review of The Remains of the Day by Peter Carrington for
"Expect tugging of heart strings"
One might be forgiven for hesitating to see a musical version of the celebrated novel The Remains of the Day but this production, like a well-kept house, handles each and every aspect skillfully and is deserving of praise.
To be successful in producing effective musical theatre many elements must come together successfully. To begin with, the Union Theatre is not a huge venue, but in portraying the vast Darlington Hall it is used well, impressively evoking the stately home's grandeur and size. This is coupled with a skillful use of lighting throughout to show the journey taken. Within the set, all cast are costumed very well in understated ways completing the image of the 1920s to 1930s.
The audience are transported via this setting to Darlington Hall, home of Lord Darlington where the tense relationship between Mr Stevens the Butler and Miss Kenton, the Housekeeper happens behind the scenes of important discussions on the economics and politics of Europe. The historical grounding (though largely fictional) is well grounded and the interesting time is handled unpretentiously by Loveless's script and lyrics.
Within this setting we find a strong cast, none shying from their songs, though some voices are stronger than others. Lucy Bradshaw plays Miss Kenton, the passionate housekeeper who initially clashes with the Butler but in her quiet movements and looks betray much more. Lucy Bradshaw also plays well against Stephen Rashbrook as Mr Stevens the butler and lead of the show. Both convey the depth of emotion in a short space of time and with all the same subtlety of the time period. Together they are both halves of the heart of the play and are what keeps the audience involved.
Christopher Bartlett as Reginald ably handles what is not an easy role, neither fully comic relief nor naïve hero. Reuben Kaye makes a strong musical debut as Mr Lewis, a conniving American.
One of the other essentials of successful musical theatre are the Ensemble and this cast of talented and skilled actors and actresses push the roof off this production.
Finally, no musical theatre would be complete without the music and musicians themselves. Those gathered for this are superb, subtle when needed and soaring with the anthems of the show. It is therefore this skillful blend of all the essential elements that means The Remains of the day tugs at the heartstrings with such strength that one wishes this was staged in a larger space, with more people able to experience it.
by Helena Rampley for Whats On Stage
Its somewhat surprising that writer and composer Alex Loveless decided to turn Kazuo Ishiguros The Remains of the Day into a musical. Whats even more surprising is that, by and large, his radical transformation of this story works the songs are almost always well-integrated, intelligently written, and subtly performed.
A sense of distant opulence is created by David Shields sombre coloured set, and the small space of the Union helps capture the mood of claustrophobic suspicion and uncertainty.
Dilemmas of duty are fought by Stevens the butler and Miss Kenton the housekeeper, and the uneasy partnership between servitude and sterility is movingly portrayed by Stephen Rashbrook and Lucy Bradshaw. Never guilty of over-singing, their vocal control and contained style of singing poignantly reflect the social constraints placed upon their passion.
Although Loveless adaptation does not quite pack what we feel is its potential punch, it does suggest a wealth of potential.
SOURCE review of The Remains of the Day Michael Darvell
The film version of Kazuo Ishiguros Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day was nominated for eight Academy Awards. It won a BAFTA Award for Best Direction by James Ivory. A much-loved book, a well-received film, but does it need to be made into a musical? One could ask that question about any book or play that becomes a film, but then the film industry has long-relied on popular works of literature and the theatre as a source for its bread-and-butter productions. The thinking must be that what works in one medium must work again in another and on many occasions it has been true. English dramatist John Cornfords 1835 farce A Day Well Spent was re-written by Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy in 1842 which American writer Thornton Wilder then adapted in 1938 as The Merchant of Yonkers, but it flopped first time around. Seventeen years later Wilder wrote a new version called The Matchmaker for actress Ruth Gordon and it was a huge hit. Hollywood filmed it in 1958 with Shirley Booth, and Jerry Herman took it up again as the basis of his stage musical Hello, Dolly! for Carol Channing, and it was another massive hit. Gene Kelly directed the film version with Barbra Streisand in 1969 but it was not an immediate success because it had cost too much to make. After that Tom Stoppard took the original story for his farce On the Razzle which was staged at the National Theatre. So, what goes around, comes around again and again and again.
One could hardly disapprove of all these various versions of the same story because most of them were successful on their own level. By that token then it is good to welcome a musical version of The Remains of the Day, perhaps because it doesnt ruin ones recollections of the book or the film. Adding the songs in the way that Alex Loveless has done help the story along mainly in a through-composed way that explains both the thoughts and emotions of the characters involved. It succeeds where a similar piece like Andrew Lloyd Webbers Aspects of Love doesnt. The lyrics in The Remains of the Day are not banal but are still conversational in the way that Stephen Sondheim writes in, say, Company, Assassins or Sweeney Todd.
The main action of The Remains of the Day is set between the two World Wars, although the story is told in flashback from the 1950s as Stevens, once devoted butler to the late Lord Darlington but now with Mr Farraday, a wealthy, brash American employer, who has bought Darlington Hall. Stevens receives a letter from Miss Kenton, his former housekeeper some twenty years before at the Hall, which hints at an unhappy marriage. When Farraday tells Stevens to take a motoring holiday in his car, he decides to visit Miss Kenton (now Mrs Benn) on the pretext of re-employing her at Darlington Hall. When they worked together they kept their relationship on a purely professional level, even though they obviously both had feelings for each other, feelings that could never be expressed at the time.
The portrait of Stevens is of a man so buttoned-up emotionally and obsessed with his work that he cannot let anything else into his life. Every task must be carried out with dignity, nothing must impinge on the job at hand, the public front of propriety is all-important and there must be nothing unseemly or strange to upset the work to be done at Darlington Hall. This attitude makes him ignore what is going on around him. He unquestioningly supports Lord Darlington and refuses to even think about his employers support of people like Oswald Mosley and his support for anti-Semitism, considering it to be none of his business. His business is to keep Darlington Hall running smoothly. His blindness to Darlingtons politics and his refusal to accept any form of romantic approach from Miss Kenton or anybody else may make him a good employee but less of a man. Stevenss motoring trip allows him to evaluate his life but by then it is too late. Miss Kenton has grown to love her husband after all, which leaves Stevens ultimately alone, thinking not only about the remains of the day, this day, but also about the remains of his life.
The songs, a mixture of lively music and more contemplative ballads, set the scene well and provide a suitable atmosphere for the narrative. Scored for woodwind and strings, it has a delightfully plangent quality in Rowland Lees arrangements. David Shieldss settings and Chris Linces lighting evoke the darkness of Darlington Hall, a place steeped in repression. Darlington cannot even bring himself to tell his son the facts of life and asks Stevens, of all people, to do the job for him, but its the one task the butler cannot fulfil. The ambience at the Hall is one that Stevens totally ignores even to accepting unquestioningly when Darlington tells him to dismiss two of his staff who happen to be Jewish. It is not only Stevens who is devoid of feelings, even anti-Jewish ones, for he makes his whole world a place of emotional desolation.
Steven Rashbrook is excellent at creating a man with little or no soul who would rather die than experience embarrassment, who shuts people out if they are going to upset his working routine, ignoring their feelings in the process. Lucy Bradshaw as Miss Kenton tries to fight her way through the barrier that prevents Stevens from being a fallible human being. The actress gives the part a nicely honed edge and, perhaps surprisingly in the context of the plot, creates a believable relationship. A good supporting cast double-up in various roles including Alan Vicary as Lord Darlington, Christopher Bartlett as his son Reginald, and Dudley Rogers as Stevenss father. Omar F. Okais choreography helps to establish the period feel of the piece and Chris Lovelesss unfussy direction lets the cast and the text get to the heart of the matter. It is in essence a charming piece, subtly and movingly played without making it at all overwrought. It is not often that new musicals are instantly successful. The Remains of the Day seems to be an exception that works from first word to last.
WORLD review by Rebecca Sheppard
A novel renowned for its
depiction of quintessential, English reserve, Kazuo Ishiguros The Remains of the Day
seems an unlikely choice for an adaptation into a buoyant musical. Still, let us not
forget that, once upon a time, people voiced similar concerns about the impending
transformation of Victor Hugos epic novel, Les Miserables.
by Naima Khan for Spoonfed
The Remains of the Day
Alex Loveless' musical adaptation
based on the novel
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
by Kazuo Ishiguro
directed by Chris Loveless
Ishiguro's Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day will premiere as a
stage musical at the Union Theatre, Southwark
Wed 1st - Sat 25th
The Union Theatre
'I must admit the idea of it being a musical was at first a rather challenging one. But as Sondheim has proved, it is possible to combine searching drama with music to tremendous effect, so I thought, why not let these guys run with it?
I listened to Alex Loveless play some musical ideas on a piano and that convinced me it could work.
Adapting this story as a musical, I could see, might have the advantage of highlighting its comedic and surreal aspects. It's an adventurous approach and I'm keen to support it.'
- Kazuo Ishiguro, The Stage, 28-May-2009, p 3
The show will be produced by Simon
James Collier in association with Fallen Angel
Theatre Company and Ben David Productions.
Christopher Bartlett as Reginald
Christopher trained at London School of Musical Theatre.
theatre includes: Ensemble/played Judas in Godspell (
Fringe theatre: Bullet in Sitting Ducks (Sitcom mission, New Diorama), Demitrius in Shakespeare for Breakfast (Edinburgh Fringe), React! Impro for kids (Edinburgh Fringe).
TV includes: Casualty, Doctors and Titty Bang Bang (BBC), Teachers (C4). Christopher will be appearing as Simple Simon in Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Millfield Arts Centre this Christmas.
Adrian Beaumont as Sir David
at Central. West End credits include: King (Piccadilly), Cain in Children of
Eden (Prince Edward) Wil
Scarlet in Robin
of Sherwood (tour and Piccadilly),
Tours include Magaldi in Evita, The Plant in Little Shop of Horrors, Dad in Saturday Night Fever.
Provincial theatre includes: Jack & the
Beanstalk; Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat, playing Pharaoh at the Little Theatre, Middlesbrough; Follow The Star (Chichester); Bill Sykes in
credits include: Zengara in Assassins
(New End, Hampstead), Hogarth in Hogarth (Bridewell) and Broadway in the Shadows (
Television credits include: The Bill (twice), and film credits include the role of Simon in The Sea Change (Dir. Michael Bray).
Trained at Arts Ed. West End credits include: Featured Ensemble in the 48 hour Showtime Challenge: Crazy for You (London Palladium).
Concerts include: Barbara Cook and Friends (London Coliseum, conducted by Gareth Valentine), Featured Soloist/Petra in Simply Sondheim: Good Thing Going (Cadogan Hall, conducted by David Firman).
Fringe credits include: Understudy Fromme in Assassins (Union Theatre), Understudy Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Union Theatre), Sigma Bracebridge in Nightingale: A Tale of Love and War (Posk Theatre), Holly in Tickledom (Upstairs at the Gatehouse).
Film credits include Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Dir. Matt Whitecross).
Lucy Bradshaw as Miss Kenton
Lucy trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, winning the Cameron Mackintosh Award.
Lucy is thrilled to be playing the part of Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day, her first role after the birth of her son.
She began her career creating/playing roles such as Cathy in the original musical play Whistle Down the Wind for the NYMT, Meg the pirate and the infamous Lucy Lockit in The Beggars Opera. Theatre/TV includes Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse), Noel and Gertie (Salisbury Playhouse), New Boy (Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh), Procession of Shades (Chanticleer Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along, Oct 2010 (Queens Theatre), Argos commercial (Smugglers).
Lucy is CEO of Little Hands Theatre School in
Sophie Juge as Mrs Taylor and Ensemble
Theatre credits include: Nurse/Ensemble/piano/violin in Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street); Gladys in The Pyjama Game (Ye Olde Rose and Crown); Miranda Ferrari in A Comedy of Arias (New Ambassadors Theatre, Jermyn Street, Edinburgh Fringe); Hermione in Missing (Diorama); Sophie in 100 (Camberley Theatre); Woman 1 in Closer Than Ever (Jermyn Street, Edinburgh Fringe); Eliza de Feuillide in JANE The Musical (Artrix Theatre, Birmingham); Ensemble in Living on an Island (Talk of London); Grace/Swan/Dot in Honk! (Oxford Studio Theatre); Ruby in Dames at Sea (Prince Regent Theatre); title role in The Little Matchgirl (Gainsborough Theatre); Doris/Dance Captain in Jack and the Beanstalk (Lincoln); Little Pig in The Tail of the Big Bad Wolf (Boxmoor Playhouse).
Original cast recordings include Eliza de Feuillide - JANE The Musical and Benedicte - A Song For Europe. Sophie is also an accomplished classical musician with an LRSM in piano, having worked as an accompanist mainly on TV, and as a vocal arranger to recording artistes.
In her spare time, Sophie runs a ladies choir in Marlow and produces shows supporting charities in her area.
Reuben Kaye as Mr Lewis and Mr Farraday
Reuben Kaye is very proud to be making his London Music Theatre debut in The Remains of the Day.
An Australian by birth, Reuben has just moved from his home town of Melbourne. After graduating from VCA (BA Music Theatre), Reuben has worked tirelessly throughout Australia in music theatre, cabaret, stand-up and straight theatre. His debut one man show Reuben Kaye is Out of Line won him the 2006 Under Our Wing Touring Award from The Butterfly Club, resulting in tours to the Melbourne International Comedy Fest, Hobart Comedy Fest and Melbourne Cabaret Fest.
An award-winning cabaret artist in Australia, Reuben recently made his London cabaret debut at the now closed Pizza on the Park. The closing of Pizza on the Park had nothing to do with his performance.
Theatre: Brilliant Traces, Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, Genre Bender (State Theatre), Russian Bride (State Theatre), Silly Season (Alexander Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Union Theatre), Boxed In (workshop), Baby The Musical (Federation Hall), Superfreaks (National Tour), Wishful Thinking, Knight On A Bike (workshop), Factor (workshop), Another Day In Vienna (workshop), Wasted Underground (45 Downstairs).
Cabaret: Reuben Kaye is Out Of Line, Fa La LA!, Be A Little Less Stupid, Behind Closed Doors, Midsumma Nights 07 '08 '09, Reuben Krum and Karin Muznieks are your Christmas Spread, Reuben Kaye is Going To The Dogs and Mayhem Cabaret (Green Room nomination for best contribution to cabaret).
Stephen Rashbrook as Stevens
Rashbrook trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then joined the Royal
Shakespeare Company to play Sebastian in Twelfth Night,
also appearing in Othello, The Merry Wives
of Windsor, Julius Caesar, The Knight of
the Burning Pestle, Peter Pan, and the original award-winning
production of Nicholas Nickleby, directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird, which
played in London and on Broadway.
West End theatre includes Hamlet directed by Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennetts Forty Years On and The Lady in the Van.
His work at the National Theatre includes Hamlet directed by Richard Eyre, Luther directed by Peter Gill and The Winters Tale directed by Nick Hytner.
Since 2005, Stephen has appeared
as Frank Sinatra in The Ratpack Live From Las
Vegas at the Strand,
TV credits includes forty episodes of Emmerdale as Rev. Tony Charlton, Doctors, Powers, New Tricks, A Touch of Frost, My Dads the Prime Minister, Urban Gothic, Dream Team, Allo Allo and Grange Hill.
Other music theatre credits
include the Sound of Music
Dudley Rogers as Stevens Senior and Man on Pier
trained at the
He has appeared in four
His repertory work includes
He played Dr. Wheedon in the national tour of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, joined Miss Watson`s Music Hall at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury, and went on to play Mr Allworthy in the tour of Tom Jones.
He is no stranger to panto,
either, and loves playing Dame. He has also sailed round the world three times as a member
of the Stadium Theatre Company on board S.S. Canberra, and has many TV and film
appearances to his credit.
Dudley is still recognised as the interviewer from hell in the Bacardi Breezer commercial.
Gemma Salter as Sarah and Ensemble
Gemma left the Italia Conti Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2008 with a BA Hons in Acting. Since then, she has appeared in many productions on stage and screen. These include: Julie in Ray Davies Come Dancing (Theatre Royal, Stratford East), Arrabella in Hansel and Gretel (Theatre Royal, Stratford East), Kathleen Cook in Rock and Chips for the BBC, Shiraz Bailey Wood in Diary of a Chav (Tristan Bates Theatre), Hermia in A Midsummer Nights Dream (Brentwood Theatre).
Gemma was also a soloist in the recent Voices for a Better World charity concert License to Thrill, singing to over 10,000 people at the O2 Arena, and she is the co-producer of The Royal Knees Up cabaret evenings at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. Gemma is delighted to be a part of this production.
Katia Sartini as Ruth and Ensemble
Katia graduated from SLP College Leeds, also gaining her Licentiate Teaching qualification with the London College of Music.
Credits include: Stars Falling, a new British musical (The Key Theatre), Wicked Lips (Battersea Barge), Unknown Destination (Battersea Barge), Trouble, the Musical (Saving Grace Productions), Gotta Sing! (Voicebox Productions), Gala Evening of Song (Casting Couch Productions, UK tour), Love Central (Scottish tour), Chariot (workshop), Cinderella (Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds) and has performed as a lead singer in five seasons of The Good ol' Days at City Varieties in Leeds.
Amongst Stage shows, Katia has also sung in various bands and has performed gigs around the UK. Katia is also a keen musician and plays piano, flute and piccolo to an advanced standard. Katia is thrilled to be involved in The Remains of the Day and is excited to be working with such a talented cast, and would like to thank her amazing family and friends for their continuous love and support!
Leejay Townsend as Monsieur Dupont
Leejay trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and graduated in 2008.
Before training, Leejay toured internationally with his own cabaret show, as well as releasing a dance single which enjoyed modest success both in the UK and abroad.
Since training, Leejay has built up a credible CV of plays and musicals. These include the European premiere of Errol Brays The Choir (Above the Stag Theatre), the London premiere of Reefer Madness (The Bridewell), Clouds (The Bridewell), Election Idol (The Brighthelm Centre, Brighton).
Leejay was hailed the star of the show by Whatsonstage.com for his performance as the cat in Honk! (George Square Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Most recently, Leejay was seen in Vavoom! The Story of a Showgirl (The Courtyard Theatre).
For more information on Leejay check out his
Alan Vicary as Lord Darlington
was born in
Theatre credits include Oliver!, Amadeus, Piaf, An Inspector Calls, The Mikado, And Then There Were None, She Loves Me (Perth Theatre); The Duchess Of Malfi (Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh); The Innocent (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh); Twelfth Night, Of Mice And Men, The Merchant Of Venice, The Lass Wi The Muckle Mou (Brunton Theatre Co., Musselburgh); Carousel (Chichester Festival Theatre); A Wee Touch O Class, The Thrie Estaitis, The Big Window, Night Sky (Edinburgh Festival); The Parsons Pirates (Opera Della Luna) and many tours including his own one man show, Being Frank with First Base Theatre.
West End and other credits include: Me And My Girl (Adelphi Theatre); Brigadoon (Victoria Palace Theatre); Les Miserables (Palace Theatre - where he understudied and played both the male leads, Jean Valjean and Javert); The Phantom Of The Opera (national tour and Her Majestys Theatre - playing M. Andre and understudying the role of the Phantom); Kiss Me Kate (Victoria Palace Theatre); Mary Poppins (Bristol Hippodrome and Prince Edward Theatre); The Sound Of Music (The London Palladium - played Herr Zeller and understudied and played Max Detwieller; Gone With The Wind (New London Theatre); Carousel (Savoy Theatre, playing Mr Snow).
In 2009 Alan made his National Theatre debut in The Power Of Yes by David Hare in the Lyttelton Theatre. He has just finished working as Resident Director on The Fantasticks (The Duchess Theatre).
Rebecca Whitbread as Dorothy and Ensemble
Rebecca trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Her acting credits include Gifted (White Bear), The Audition (Greenwich Playhouse), Winter (tour with Forest Forge Theatre Company), Pulse (short film directed by Tommaso Paino), Goodbye (short film directed by Richard Cosgrove) and various readings and short devised projects.
is currently filming a feature film, Simple Things, in
which she plays the lead. She is in the process of establishing her own theatre company,
with which she is currently working on a site-specific piece, to be performed in
She writes plays and prose, and is involved in various blues and jazz music projects, in which she sings.
As Musical Director: Tick Tick BOOM! (Union Theatre), From the Ritz to the Anchor & Crown (Noel Coward Society), A Night At The Music Hall (both Canal Café Theatre), Oh No It Isnt (Union Theatre), Little Fish (European Premiere, Finborough Theatre), Fairystories (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), NewsRevue (2008 & 09 seasons, Canal Café Theatre), Edges (UK Premiere), Its Behind You (both Union Theatre), Assassins (Landor Theatre), Wonderboy (Nitro Centre), Pride & Prejudice, the Pantomime (Vanbrugh Theatre, RADA), Sweeney Todd (Edinburgh Festival), as well as Too Darn Hot: A Night at the Musicals, Marry Me A Little, The Threepenny Opera and Bugsy Malone. Richard also serves as musical director for James Haslams cabaret performances.
Poppy Ben-David trained at The
Royal Ballet School and was the recipient of the Ursula Moreton, James Monahan and Ninette
de Valois Awards for Choreography. As a choreographer, she created five professional works
including Siren Song for the Royal Ballet at the
Royal Opera House and Gabriels Poem for
The Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 2002, she won the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award for
Entrepreneurs and began producing dance works for Ballet Centrals National Tour. In
2005, Poppy stopped working as a choreographer and focused on production. As a producer,
Poppy produced Sweeney Todd for the Union
Theatre, November 2008. She was also Associate Producer on the all male Mikado at the Union Theatre in July 2008 and
producer of the sell out Magic to Cry For season
at the Canal Café Theatre 2008. Poppy also produced A
Day of Magic at the Arcola Theatre, 2008. In 2009, Poppy produced Piff the Magic
Dragons debut record breaking
Between 2007 and 2009, Poppy worked for the production team at Ambassador Theatre Group. Productions included Matthew Bournes Nutcracker, Guys and Dolls, The Rocky Horror Show, Elling, Fat Pig, West Side Story, The Lover & The Collection and Noises Off. Poppy has also worked for Rambert Dance Company, Birmingham Hippodrome, Jongleurs, The Bush Theatre, The Corner Shop PR and The Society of London Theatre.
In December 2008, Poppy was awarded the Stage One New Producer's Bursary and currently works as Assistant Producer for Sweet Pea Productions. Productions whilst there have included The Misanthrope, starring Keira Knightly and Damian Lewis.
Simon James Collier
Simon is CEO and Co-Founder of
the noted Okai Collier Company and has produced and been the creative director on over
fifty plays and musicals in
Simon has also written and published over twenty childrens books and novels and recently produced Dance With Me, his first feature film, which will be in cinemas in 2010. He is currently developing two other features for production in 2010/11. He also directed The Difference We Make, a documentary for Southern Housing Foundation as well as presenting celebrated events at St. Martin in the Fields (The Crusaid Requiem), Hackney Empire (Inspiration Innovation Integration Season) & St. Pauls Cathedral (Service of Thanksgiving, Remembrance & Hope for World AIDS Day).
Simon has also written and published over
twenty childrens books, a number of which have been adapted for television and the
Simon has also written and published over twenty childrens books, a number of which have been adapted for television and the stage.
Productions for 2010/11
include: Bloodline (Brockley Jack Studio
Theatre); Petrouchka and 1888 (also
directing); Blavatskys Tower (Brockley
Jack Studio Theatre); Gifted (White Bear); The Remains of the Day (Union Theatre) and Stairway to Heaven (Blue Elephant).
Productions for 2010/11 include: Bloodline (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre); Petrouchka and 1888 (also directing); Blavatskys Tower (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre); Gifted (White Bear); The Remains of the Day (Union Theatre) and Stairway to Heaven (Blue Elephant).
|Adam Dechanel is a prolific author,
illustrator and graphic designer whose career spans nearly a decade. He has worked in
television, film, books, short stories and graphic novels for many years. Throughout his
wide-ranging career he has had a series of novels published including the high profile Superman: Tempered Steel. Adam is well known in the
illustration field and has worked extensively with Warner Bros, DC Comics and The Walt
Disney Company. He also exhibits his artwork in galleries around
He is the co-creator of publishing label Okai Collier Kids that pioneered the CDbook entertainment format. His concept for graphic novel anthologies Vanston Place: The Secret Adventures and The Timber Wharves Gang were short listed for a SNAC award. In theatre, Adam has worked on productions including Collision, Blavatskys Tower, Gifted, Bloodline, Passion, A My Name Is Alice, My Matisse, In His Hands, The Smilin State, The Sister Wendy Musical, The Dorchester, A Mother Speaks and Dracula, and also spearheaded the marketing campaign for the critically acclaimed European premieres of Purlie and Preacherosity. He also wrote A Wrongful Execution, which featured as a reading for the acclaimed Inspiration, Innovation and Integration Season.
Fallen Angel Theatre Company
Fallen Angel was established in 2007 and focuses on new writing and innovative revivals of provocative and challenging works. Productions to date include: Moonshadow, Dracula, The Custom of the Country, Gifted (all White Bear); Vampire Nights, Ray Collins Dies On Stage, (all Alma Theatre, Bristol); Normal (Tobacco Factory, Bristol); Blavatsky's Tower (Brockley Jack); Stairway to Heaven (Blue Elephant).
is currently Deputy Head of Sound at Chichester Festival Theatre following a move from the
North as Deputy Chief Technician and Resident Sound Designer at the Theatre By The Lake in
Kazuo Ishiguro has also worked as a
screenwriter and a song lyricist. He lives in
Books in order of publication: A Pale View of Hills (1982 winner Winifred Holtby Prize), An Artist of the Floating World (1986 winner Whitbread Book of the Year Award, winner Premio Scanno, finalist for the Booker Prize), The Remains of the Day (1989, winner Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995, winner Cheltenham Prize), When We Were Orphans (2000, finalist for the Booker Prize), Never Let Me Go (2005, finalist for the Booker Prize, winner Premio Serono, winner Corine Internationaler Buchpreis, winner Casino de Santiago European Novel Award, finalist US National Book Critics Circle Award). Latest book Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall published May 2009.
Screenplays for cinema: The White Countess (2006, directed by James Ivory), The Saddest Music In The World (2003, directed by Guy Maddin) co-written with Guy Maddin and George Toles.
Screenplays for TV: A Profile of Arthur J. Mason (Channel 4, broadcast 1984), The Gourmet (Channel 4, broadcast 1986).
Songs (co-written with Jim Tomlinson): The Ice Hotel, I Wish I Could Go Travelling Again, So Romantic and Breakfast On The Morning Tram, featured on Stacey Kents 2007 Grammy-nominated album Breakfast On The Morning Tram (Blue Note).
Instrumental & Ensemble Vocal Arrangements
Rowland Lee studied composition and piano at the Royal College of Music and has written much orchestral, choral and chamber music including The Crusaid Requiem, featuring the Mezzo-Soprano Sarah Connolly MBE, performed at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 2003.
He has composed scores for over twenty short films including
the Christmas favourite The
Little Reindeer. With over 1000 broadcasts last year on
He has composed scores for over twenty short films including
the Christmas favourite The
Little Reindeer. With over 1000 broadcasts last year on
His work for the choreographer Matthew Bourne includes an
original score for BBC2 ballet Drip-a
Narcissistic Love Story, orchestrations for Town and Country, Nutcracker! and
the internationally famous
His work for the choreographer Matthew Bourne includes an
original score for BBC2 ballet Drip-a
Narcissistic Love Story, orchestrations for Town and Country, Nutcracker! and
the internationally famous
Conducting engagements next year
include concerts with the Orchestra of the Czar's Chapel,
credits as musical director/pianist/arranger include; Marry Me A Little and The Great Big Radio Show
(the Bridewell), Over my Shoulder (
Many of these productions are available on CD; The Amazons received a Grammy nomination for best
cast album in 2003.
Many of these productions are available on CD; The Amazons received a Grammy nomination for best cast album in 2003.
In 1986, he was the first recipient of the British Film
Institutes Anthony Asquith Young Composer Award. He is well-known as a collector of
mechanical music; His most prized instrument is an Aeolian Pipe Organ.
In 1986, he was the first recipient of the British Film Institutes Anthony Asquith Young Composer Award. He is well-known as a collector of mechanical music; His most prized instrument is an Aeolian Pipe Organ.
lighting designer, Chris has most recently lit Stairway
to Heaven (Blue Elephant Theatre), Gifted
(White Bear Theatre) and Blavatskys Tower
& Compression (BrockleyJack Studio Theatre).
He has worked extensively with director Benet Catty on productions of Howie the Rookie,
Adaptation of the Book, Music & Lyrics
trained at the London College of Music,
Awards include Vivian Ellis Prize for Promising Newcomer and the Howard Goodall Award for Composition.
Writing credits include Dracula (White Bear Theatre, 2008), and extensive
work for youth theatre. Alexs work has been showcased in the
Chris trained at the
Directing credits include: Moonshadow (Time Out Critics Choice &
Show of the Week), Dracula, The Custom of the Country (Time Out Critics'
Choice) & Gifted (all White Bear); Vampire Nights, Ray Collins Dies On Stage, Walters Monkey & Thursday Coma (all Alma Theatre, Bristol); Normal (Tobacco Factory, Bristol); Blavatsky's Tower (Brockley Jack); Stairway to Heaven (Blue Elephant); The Demon Box (Finborough Vibrant Anniversary
Festival); Script Space III (Tobacco Factory). Assisting credits include Othello (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory).
Producing credits include studio and fringe productions, and an internship with ATG in
Diana has recently completed her BA (Hons) in Theatre with Textual Practices at Dartington College of Arts. She has previously directed a devised piece Moments We Like (2009), Hysteria (2006) and When Were Broken (Warehouse Theatre, 2006) for which she won awards for Best Director and Best Technical Support. She has collaborated extensively on several devised pieces, including When Stone Footsteps Lead to the Lighthouse, which was shown at the Dartington Campus Festival 2010. In 2006 she was Deputy Stage Manager for the International Playwrighting Festival at the Warehouse Theatre and a lighting assistant at Croydon Clocktower for a deaf show. As an actress, Diana has performed in a range of pieces including Timberlake Wertenbakers The Love of a Nightingale, John Websters The Duchess of Malfi and Chekhovs The Cherry Orchard. Diana has also undertaken a Contextual Enquiry Project exploring modes of directing, during which time she worked with Okai Collier (Collision, Hackney Empire), Foursight Theatre (Corner Shop, site-specific) and Uninvited Guests (in residency at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre), as well as conducting interviews with directors Gillian Hambleton (Northumberland Theatre Company), Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment) and Mole Wetherell (Reckless Sleepers).
Omar F. Okai
Omar F. Okai is an
award-winning director and/or choreographer of over forty musicals and plays, productions
of which were not only in
He is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the noted Okai
Collier Company, which has gained an excellent reputation for encouraging new writing and
staging cross-cultural productions. Okai also co-produced four Off-West End studio
productions for directors including Lynda Baron (The
Dorchester) and Ruth Carney (My Matisse),
along with Rowland Lees acclaimed The Crusaid
Requiem at St. Martin in the Fields and the HIV/AIDS
Service of Remembrance at
Chris has worked as Costume Designer on a number of Okai Collier Company productions including Elegies (Bridewell); Purlie (Bridewell, nominated for 4 Whats On Stage awards); Blavatskys Tower & Bloodline (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre); Ruthless (Stratford Circus, winner of 5 Musical Stages Awards); Preacherosity and The Dorchester (both at Jermyn Street West End Studio Theatre); The Sister Wendy Musical, The Smilin State, Collision and In His Hands (Hackney Empire), and Dracula & Gifted (White Bear Theatre).
Casting credits for the English Theatre Frankfurt include: The Full Monty, Educating Rita, Hysteria, Hair, Gaslight, Death Trap, Laughing Wild, Nevelles Island, The Last Virgin, Blithe Spirit, RENT; Other theatre casting credits include: Blavatskys Tower & Bloodline (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre), Gifted (White Bear), A Day at the Racist (Finborough Theatre), The Tenants (Drill Hall), Ruth (New End Theatre, London) A Wrongful Execution (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); Borrowed Time (New End Theatre, London); Purlie (Bridewell Theatre); Passion (Bridewell Theatre). Music Video & Commercial casting credits include: Andre Rieu (Decca Records), Dreamboats & Petticoats 3 (Universal Music Op), Bingo Wings Music Video (MJNA Records).
Associate Producer and Producer
credits include: Circus Agogo (New End Theatre);
A Wrongful Execution (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); The Last Session (Acorn Theatre, Hackney); Bridewell Theatre Farewell Gala (Bridewell
Theatre); Purlie (Bridewell Theatre). Production
Assistant on Death of a Salesman (Lyric
Set and Costume
|Davids production credits include: Song & Dance and Carmen Jones (European tours, directed by Anthony
Van Laast), Oh! What a Night (Blackpool Opera House, directed by Kim Gavin), A Christmas Carol (
Other credits include the Scandinavian productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Fame,
Night Fever, and Mannen fra La Mancha (Det
Norske Teatret, Oslo, directed by Runar Borge), Mapp and Lucia (Jermyn
Street Theatre and Greenwich), Naked Flame (UK tour), The Hobbit
(Queens Theatre, London and UK
Tours, directed by Roy Marsden), Diamond and
Shamlet (Kings Head Theatre,
London), Saturday Night Fever (UK national
tours, Apollo Victoria Theatre and
Johannesburg, choreographed and directed by Arlene Phillips, plus the more recent Madrid
and Spanish tour directed by Karen Bruce), Instant
Magique and Oui, J adore, and a
further six productions at the Royal Palace Kirrwiller France. David has also designed
twelve world-touring productions for
Elaine Booth Reeds
Elaine studied music at the
Elaine has played in the pit bands for many shows, from classics such as Sweet Charity and My Fair Lady through to a musical version of Shakespeare's As You Like It. This is Elaine's second time at the Union Theatre, and she's excited to be part of another new musical.
Mary Erskine Cello
|Having graduated from
Having performed widely as a solo pianist, Mary is now singer/keyboardist with London-based electronica/pop collective, The Shadow Orchestra. On the cello, she has played in a variety of ensembles, including the Oxford University Orchestra, as well as recently building a number of credits as a session cellist, recording for artists such as Belleruche, Official Secrets Act and Al Lewis.
Lorna Young Violin
Lorna has recently
completed her BA Honours degree in Music, specialising in the violin, at Leeds College of
Music and throughout this time has been nurtured into a confident and talented performer.
For her final performance within the college she was privileged enough to lead the Leeds
Community Symphony Orchestra under conductor John Stringer. A keen orchestral player, she
has performed with the
Lorna has recently performed a solo version of
Duelling Violins Lord of the Dance
(Blackpool, The Grand Theatre) and has had
a busy schedule as lead violin within the Melati String Quartet (
Lorna has collaborated extensively with other
musicians in the Leeds area and has played many venues performing with singer songwriters,
a Latin swing band and on one occasion been part of the support act for the international
band Feeder at the
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