Soho Theatre has announced casting for the world premiere of Chasing Bono, Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement’s new play based on Neil McCormick’s memoir about his rivalry with his childhood friend turned global superstar, Bono. The cast includes Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Ciaran Dowd, simultaneously appearing at Soho Upstairs in his stand-up hit Don Rodolfo. Time to get booking!
Chasing Bono, a rock ‘n’ roll fable about the pursuit of fame and coming to terms with failed ambition, premieres as part of Soho Theatre’s famously non-Christmassy Christmas show slot this year, running from 6 December 2018 to 19 January 2019, with a press night on 13 December.
1970s Dublin. Friends Neil McCormick and Paul Hewson share the same ambition: to form bands and become global superstars. Paul changed his name to ‘Bono’ and his band became U2. Neil’s band never got off the ground.
1987. Dublin gangster Danny Machin wants a fair and balanced account written of his life whilst now-writer Neil is wondering where his went so wrong. Danny sees an opportunity and kidnaps him. Neil becomes Danny’s biographer. Danny becomes Neil’s shrink, probing the reasons for his succession of disastrous decisions.
Chasing Bono is a lovingly fictionalised account of music journalist, author, broadcaster and U2 biographer Neil McCormick’s 2005 memoir I was Bono’s doppelganger, which Sir Elton John described as “the best book I have ever read about trying to make it in the music business”. The book also inspired the 2011 film Killing Bono, starring Ben Barnes and Martin McCann.
The stage adaptation, directed by Gordon Anderson, features a superb Irish ensemble cast including Niall McNamee as Neil and Shane O’Regan as Bono. They’re joined in the cast by Niamh Bracken (Sunny Afternoon), Denis Conway (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Farzana Dua Elahe (Parveen Abbasi in EastEnders), Donal Finn and Ciaran Dowd.
Dowd won this year’s Best Newcomer prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his solo show Don Rodolfo, the “grotesque love child of Don Juan and Don Quixote, which has transferred to Soho Upstairs, where it continues in rep at 9.45pm until 12 January 2019, while the premiere production of Chasing Bono runs nightly in Soho’s main house at 7.15pm. Dowd is best known to comedy fans as a member of acclaimed sketch group BEASTS.
The new stage play has commonalities with some of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’ previous work, which includes iconic television comedies including Porridge, The Likely Lads, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Lovejoy, as well as behind-the-scenes music films The Commitments and Still Crazy. Chasing Bono is produced by Sally Wood for Sally Humphreys Productions Ltd, and Douglas McJannet for Covent Garden Productions.
Chasing Bono runs from 6 December 2018 to 19 January 2019 at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE. Performances are Mondays to Saturdays at 7.15pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £11-27. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!