Following a successful season of online productions, Original Theatre Company has announced its first live stage production since March 2020. The UK tour of Ben Brown’s new political drama A Splinter Of Ice will open on 8 June 2021 at the Malvern Festival Theatre and will tour until 31 July.
The production, starring Oliver Ford Davies as Graham Greene and Stephen Boxer as Kim Philby and directed by Alan Strachan with Alastair Whatley, has also been filmed on stage at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre and will be released online via the company’s website from 15 April until 31 July. While Sara Crowe will play Rufa Philby in the online version, she is unavailable for the tour, so the casting for Rufa on tour is to be confirmed.
Moscow 1987 and the cold war begins to thaw. After declining his offer for more than 30 years, novelist Graham Greene travels into the heart of the Soviet Union to meet with his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby. Under the watchful eye of Russian memoirist and Philby’s last wife, Rufa, the two men set about catching up on old times.
With a new world order breaking out around them, how much did the writer of The Third Man know about Philby’s secret life as a spy and did Philby betray his friend as well as his country?
From the writer of the award-winning West End play Three Days in May, which inspired the Oscar-winning film Darkest Hour, Brown’s new drama explores an unlikely friendship; a friendship interwoven with deceit and loyalty.
Brown said of A Splinter Of Ice: “I’m thrilled to be working again with Alan Strachan and Oliver Ford Davies and to be joining forces with Stephen Boxer, Sara Crowe and Alastair Whatley for the premiere, at last, of my new play, online prior to a national tour.”
Alastair Whatley, artistic director of Original Theatre Company, said:
“I am thrilled that we are producing Ben’s fantastic new play with such a wonderful cast and creative team. The plan was to open this in front of audiences at the end of March, but alas, once again, plans have changed. Instead of cancelling, we will now film the production at the beautiful Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, releasing the play to our audiences around the world, before then returning to stages across the UK as soon as theatres reopen.”
A Splinter Of Ice is designed by Michael Pavelka, with original music composed and sound designed by Max Pappenheim, lighting designed by Jason Taylor and casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG.
Oliver Ford Davies is an Olivier Award-winning actor whose recent theatre includes Peter Gynt (National Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival), Troilus and Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Chalk Garden (Chichester Festival Theatre), Richard II (RSC, Barbican & BAM, New York), Henry IV Part II (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York), Henry V (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York) and Goodnight Mister Tom (Phoenix West End and Tour). He won Best Actor at the 1990 Olivier Awards for his performance in David Hare’s Racing Demon (National Theatre). Recent film and television credits include Christopher Robin, The Last Witness, Father Brown, Marple and Game of Thrones.
Stephen Boxer’s theatre credits include The Remains of the Day (UK Tour), Titus Andronicus, The Heresy of Love, The Taming Of The Shrew, Bartholomew Fair, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Herbal Bed, The White Devil, The Duchess Of Malfi, Richard III (all for the RSC), Macbeth, King Lear, Aristocrats, Volpone (all for the National Theatre), The Hypochondriac and A Chaste Maid In Cheapside (for Almeida Theatre). Recent television credits include Denis Thatcher in The Crown, Small Axe, David Elster in Humans and Poldark. He also played Rene Azaire in Original Theatre’s Birdsong.