Articles for April, 2015


Full Cast announced for The Father

Friday, April 24th, 2015 by Tricycle

• Claire Skinner joins Kenneth Cranham in the cast
• 2014 Molière Award winner transfers to London following sell-out run at Ustinov Studio in Bath

Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Tricycle Theatre present

The Father

By Florian Zeller
In a version by Christopher Hampton

7 May – 13 June
Press night: 12 May at 7pm


Cast: Kenneth Cranham, Claire Skinner, Rebecca Charles,
Jim Sturgeon, Colin Tierney and Jade Williams

Director: James Macdonald; Designer: Miriam Buether; Lighting Designer: Guy Hoare; Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt

The full cast is announced today for The Father, transferring to London following a hugely successful, critically acclaimed run last year at the Ustinov Studio in Bath. Kenneth Cranham, Rebecca Charles, Colin Tierney and Jade Williams reprise their original roles and are joined by new cast members Claire Skinner and Jim Sturgeon. The production opens on 12 May, with previews from 7 May, and runs until 13 June.

Now 80 years old, Andre was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pyjamas, and he can’t find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he’s losing control.

Author of this intriguing and compelling black comedy, Florian Zeller, has been hailed as ‘one of the hottest literary talents in France’ (Independent). The Father (Le Père) was the recipient of three Molière Awards in 2014, including for Best New Play.

Christopher Hampton has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, Chekhov and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). He won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the adaptation of his own play, Dangerous Liaisons. He was nominated again in 2007 for adapting Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement. His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac.

Nominated for a Tony Award for Stephen Daldry’s An Inspector Calls on Broadway, Kenneth Cranham‘s numerous stage credits also include The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre), The Homecoming (Almeida Theatre) and West End productions of Entertaining Mr Sloane, Loot, The Birthday Party and Gaslight. Screen credits range from the title role in Shine on Harvey Moon to Maleficent, Hot Fuzz, Oliver! and Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

Rebecca Charles plays Woman. Her theatre credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Just Between Ourselves, The Norman Conquests (Salisbury Playhouse), The Old Country (English Touring Theatre), Julius Caesar (Barbican and tour), Great Expectations (Manchester Royal Exchange), Richard III, The Importance of Being Earnest (Derby Playhouse), Hated Nightfall (tour/ Royal Court), The Recruiting Officer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh) and Cyrano de Bergerac (West End). Her television work includes Homefront, The Office, Hear the Silence, Foyle’s War, People Like Us, The Bill, The Peter Principle, Jonathan Creek, Over Here, Jewels, The House of Eliott, Fatal Inversion, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries – Artists in Crime; and for film, The Heart of Me, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Shakespeare in Love, Mrs Brown.

Claire Skinner plays Anne. Her theatre credits include Blurred Lines, Mrs Affleck, A Winter’s Tale, Othello, Invisible Friends (National Theatre), Deathtrap, The Importance Of Being Earnest (West End), Candida (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Glass Menagerie (Donmar / West End), Look Back In Anger (Royal Exchange Manchester), Moonlight (Almeida / West End) and Measure For Measure (RSC). Her television work includes Inside No. 9, Critical (Series Reg), Playhouse Presents: Mr Understood, Silk, Homefront, Doctor Who, Moving On, Outnumbered (five series), The Trial Of Tony Blair, Lark Rise To Candleford, Sense & Sensibility, You Can See Your Friends, The Trial Of Tony Blair, Sense and Sensbility, Life Begins, Trevor’s World Of Sport, The Genius Of Mozart, Bedtime, Perfect Strangers, Brass Eye and Coogan’s Run; and for film, When Did You Last See Your Father, Sleepy Hollow and Life Is Sweet.

Jim Sturgeon plays Man. His theatre credits include The Mill Lavvies, Equus, A Christmas Carol (Dundee Repertory Theatre), Hansel & Gretel, Beauty & The Beast, LIAR (Citizens Theatre), Betrayal (West End), Whispering Happiness (Tristen Bates Theatre), Yellow On The Broom (Perth Theatre) Attempts On Her Life (Tron), A Sheep Called SkyeI (tour), The Cosmonaut’s Last Message To The Girl He Once Loved In The Former Soviet Union (BAT Theatre, Berlin), Brief Encounter (Kneehigh Tour USA / Australia). His television work includes A.D. The Bible Continues, Vera, Katie Morag, Shetland, Hope Springs and Tinsel Town. And for film, Iona, Meet Pursuit Delange: The Movie, 71, Edge Of Tomorrow and Will.

Colin Tierney plays Pierre. His theatre credits include Britannia Waves The Rules, The Seagull, Cold Meat Party (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Last Days Of Troy (Royal Exchange Manchester/ Globe Theatre), The Misanthrope (Liverpool Everyman / ETT), Betrayal, Hamlet (Sheffield Crucible), Tartuffe (ETT), Hedda Gabler (Theatre Royal Bath / Tour), The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other, Paul, Guiding Star, The Machine Wreckers, Henry VI and Othello (National Theatre), Duchess Of Malfi (RSC), Ivanov and The Life Of Galileo (Almeida). His television work includes Vera, DCI Banks, Garrow’s Law, New Tricks, Inspector Lynley, Silent Witness, The Walk, Island At War, Serious And Organised, Foyle’s War, The Vice. And for film, Nowhere Boy and Splintered.

Jade Williams plays Laura. Her theatre credits The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World (HighTide), Moon Tiger (Bath Theatre Royal), Sons Without Fathers from Chekhov’s Platonov, Palace of the End (Arcola Theatre), In Basildon (Royal Court), Doctor Faustus, The God of Soho, Henry IV parts I and II, Bedlam, As You Like It and A New World (Shakespeare’s Globe), Romeo and Juliet (Globe/UK tour), Shraddha and Piranha Heights (Soho), Chatroom/Citizenship (National Theatre/Hong Kong Arts Festival) and Market Boy (National Theatre). Her television work includes DCI Banks, Shakespeare Uncovered, Judge John Deed, The Canterbury Tales, Being April, Plotlands, Black Hearts in Battersea, William and Mary, Bad Girls, Serious and Organised, Lloyd & Hill and Mile High; and for film, Anne Frank, Life and Lyrics and Hush Your Mouth.

James Macdonald has worked extensively Off–Broadway where he was recently the winner of the 2014 Obie Award for Best Director for Love and Information. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2007 and his numerous credits include Cock, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, the European and US tours of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, Exiles at the National Theatre and Glengarry Glen Ross in the West End.

This translation of Le Père was supported by the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni as part of the Cross Channel Theatre programme.

TRB-ustinov-[1]  Untitled-2

The Father is on stage at the Tricycle Theatre from 7 May – 13 June. Book now.


Previews and press nights – After Electra

Monday, April 13th, 2015 by Tricycle

After Electra cast credit Steve Tanner SMALL

After Electra is now in full swing here at the Tricycle so today we give you the last blog in the series from Assistant Director Phil Bartlett. Haven’t booked yet? Check out the trailer on our website here.

Hello once again! After Electra is now open at the Tricycle Theatre after finishing our run to busy and enthusiastic houses in Plymouth, so I thought I’d update you on how we transferred the production from the rehearsal room into the studio and made sure it was ready for opening night. Following an invaluable final week’s rehearsal on the set at TR2, it was packed into a lorry along with the props and furniture and transported across Plymouth to the theatre. Once installed in the Drum, director Samuel West and I joined the design team there to establish the sequence of lighting and sound effects that would be used throughout the show – much of this had been planned in advance by the brilliant Malcolm Rippeth (Lighting Designer) and Adrienne Quartley (Sound Designer), but until you’re in the performance space with the set, furniture and actors it’s unwise to make any final decisions. There are a number of different bird calls incorporated into the soundtrack, and Sam drew on his own expertise as a birder to ensure the recordings used were of species that might realistically be heard on the Essex coast at the time of year each scene takes place. Twitchers, see how many you can identify!

Technical rehearsals can be a stressful time – if the show isn’t ready or not enough preparation has been done then things can quickly fall apart – but happily our tech sessions ran very smoothly, with Stage Manager Paul on top of things backstage and the creative team working as an efficient unit to ensure we managed to fit in two dress rehearsals before the first preview on Thursday 12th March. Previews are the first time a production is performed in front of an actual paying audience, and with new plays in particular it’s vital to have this opportunity to see how members of the public respond to it in order to then be able to make any necessary tweaks. Writer April de Angelis joined us in Plymouth for the three preview performances, and each afternoon we worked a little on improving or tightening sections – sometimes the dialogue, sometimes the staging – based on our experience of the previous night’s performance. We were pleased to find audiences responding positively from the first preview, however, so no major rethinking was required.

After Electra Marty Cruickshank 2 credit Steve Tanner

Soon press night was upon us and the show was properly up-and-running. I popped in to check on it and enjoyed finding out what audience members thought of the piece both during the interval and after the final curtain. From talking to attendees and listening to the questions asked at the post-show, it’s clear that Plymouth audiences really engaged with the theme of long-held family resentments which runs beneath the surface comedy of April’s script. For me, one of the joys of theatre is that its ‘liveness’ means a production will continue to grow and change across its run, and I look forward to seeing how the piece develops over the coming month.

After Electra runs at the Tricycle Theatre from Thursday 7th April until Saturday 2nd May. Let us know what you think of it by commenting below!


Getting Ready for the Drum: After Electra Blog 3

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 by Tricycle

After Electra Kate Fahy & Neil McCaul credit Steve Tanner

After Electra opens at the Tricycle today and we are sharing the third in a series of rehearsal blogs from Assistant Director Phil Bartlett. We’re very excited to see the unique cottage made from railway carriages on the Tricycle stage!

Hello once again! A week has passed since my previous entry, so here’s a quick update on the progress we’ve made. Hours were spent working at TR2, Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Production and Learning Centre in Cattedown, where we arrived last month to find the set waiting for us to rehearse on. Having been Assistant Director at the Theatre Royal Plymouth for a few months now, I’ve become accustomed to this unusual privilege, but the reaction of director Samuel West and the actors reminded me how lucky we are to be able to familiarise ourselves with the set before moving to the theatre. Teching a show (that is, programming the sound and lighting cues once the set is installed in the performance space) is a complicated process and one that can sometimes understandably be slowed down as actors adjust the performances they’ve developed in the rehearsal room to fit the set; our week at TR2, however, means there should be far fewer surprises for us in the days leading up to first preview.

One aspect of the staging which we were all keen to experience was the raked floor. The action of After Electra takes place in the living area of protagonist Virgie’s house on the Essex coast, which in Michael Taylor’s design is a strange and beautiful wooden cottage constructed partially from a pair of decommissioned train carriages. The layout and finish of the parts of the cottage we see on stage is basically naturalistic and wonderfully full of detail, but the floor has a fairly sharp rake to it, with the stage right side being considerably lower than the stage left side. This rake deliberately unbalances in the set, almost suggesting the house has careered off the railway tracks and crashed into the sands, but before arriving in Plymouth we weren’t sure how comfortable the rake would be to act on and both Sam and Michael were prepared to remove it from the design if it proved too problematic. Happily, we’ve discovered it only compliments the work we’d done in London, and so it stays.

The week at TR2 was also the time when much of the actual furniture that will be used in performance arrived for the actors to rehearse with. This is a furniture – and props-heavy show, but the stage management team have been brilliantly resourceful in sourcing chairs, drinks cabinets, and art paraphernalia to fill the room and create the impression that the cottage that has been lived in for many years. On the few occasions the furniture we’ve found is almost-but-not-quite-right, the theatre’s workshop have stepped in to make improvements for us overnight – the sofa you see in the show, for example, has had longer legs fitted, a new seat added, and a different cover sewn. Perhaps the most important props in the show are Virgie’s paintings, and for these Michael brought on-board an artist to create a series of artworks for us to use. In rehearsals we used blank canvases – and it was really exciting to see how the painter had used the clues provided by the script to influence the style and colour of the paintings.

In terms of actually rehearsing, the focus for week four was very much on running larger sections of the play together – we worked through the seven scenes in the first half of week, and then managed three full runs by Saturday lunch-time. Sound Designer Adrienne Quartly and Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth joined us for the second half of the week – this meant they were able to watch these final rehearsal room runs in advance of starting technical rehearsals today. Part of Adrienne’s sound design for the show involves her constructing what one of Virgie’s paintings ‘sounds like’ to a number of the characters.

After Electra is now on stage – click to watch the trailer and to book.