As Nigel Williams’ tale of a troubled sibling relationship, My Brother’s Keeper?, receives its first major London revival since its 1985 premiere, Andy de la Tour tells us about how the play has stayed fresh and relevant, and playing a father who’s suffered a stroke. Read his interview, then book your tickets!
First seen at Greenwich Theatre more than 30 years ago, Nigel Williams’ incisive, funny and affecting play returns to the London’s stage at the Playground Theatre from 26 February to 23 March 2019. The piece explores the complexities of adult fraternal bonds, when shared childhoods and personal histories work as hard to repel as they do to bind. It poses the question, “Can the shared love of a dying father can overcome any damage done?”
Following a stroke, seventy-four-year-old actor Mr Stone lies dying in a near-empty hospital ward. His two sons, Tony and Sam, together again after several years, try to reconcile their fractured family before it’s too late. In doing so, they confront each other, their past, and the imminent loss of their father.
Former stand-up comedian Andy de la Tour, who boasts acting credits at the National Theatre and Almeida Theatre, leads the cast as Mr Stone. He’s joined in the cast by Kathryn Pogson (Mrs Stone), David Partridge (Sam), Josh Taylor (Tony) and William Reay (Terry). The production is directed by Craig Gilbert, who is the new works associate at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. He has also directed Bygone at the Young Vic and his own adaptation of Three Men in a Boat, which toured the UK.
Williams has written more than 16 novels, including the bestselling Wimbledon Poisoner. He won the Somerset Maugham award for his first novel, My Life Closed Twice. His stage plays include Class Enemy, Sugar and Spice, Harry and Me (Royal Court), My Face and Line’em (National Theatre) and Lord of the Flies and Country Dancing (Royal Shakespeare Company). He won a television BAFTA for his adaptation of William Horwood‘s novel Skallrigg. and both an Emmy and Golden Globe in 2005 for his TV drama, Elizabeth I. His latest TV series, starring Helen Mirren, Catherine The Great, is due to be aired later this year.
My Brother’s Keeper? is staged at the Playground Theatre by Tinted Frame Productions, which was founded in 2015 with the aim to bring bold new writing and existing classics to the stage and screen for a contemporary audience. They are committed to telling stories that inspire, resonate, thrill and reflect a modern-day audience.
The show is staged in support of The Stroke Association, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke. The charity delivers stroke services across the country, campaigns for better stroke care, invests in research and fundraises to try to help as many stroke survivors as possible. Stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK, with 100,000 people suffering a stroke in the UK each year.
My Brother’s Keeper runs from 26 February to 23 March at Playground Theatre, 8, Latimer Industrial Estate, Latimer Rd, London W10 6RQ. Performances from Mondays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with matinees on Saturdays at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced at £20.50 (concessions £18.50). CHICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Andy de la Tour tells us about starring in My Brother’s Keeper?
How did you get involved with My Brother’s Keeper?
I took part in an exploratory reading of the play, back in 2017.
What caught your attention about the play?
That it seemed fresh and relevant even though it was written over 30 years ago.
You’re playing Mr Stone. What’s he like?
Mr Stone is deep down a loving father and husband, but as a consequence of his stroke he’s angry and depressed with his situation! He can’t function as an actor and that hugely frustrates him.
How much research are you doing on stroke to play the role?
We’ll talk with someone from the Stroke Association, which will be enormously useful.
It’s 34 years since the play was first performed. What keeps it fresh and relevant?
The play is about ‘family’ and it could be any family at any time. Family dynamics don’t change from one era to the next.
How are you feeling about staging the show at Playground Theatre?
I’m excited at performing at a new(ish) theatre and looking forward to discovering the theatre’s audience.
Why is theatre a great way of telling this story?
Its immediacy and its intimacy. The audience is right there with us in the hospital ward, seeing up close the trials and tribulations of this typical family!
What can audiences expect from a trip to see My Brother’s Keeper?
Hopefully an entertaining and enlightening couple of hours with the Stone family!