Casting has been announced for the world premiere stage adaptation of The Knowledge, which runs for ten weeks at London’s Charing Cross Theatre from 4 September to 11 November 2017, with a press night on 11 September. The Knowledge is based on Jack Rosenthal‘s iconic 1979 TV comedy and directed by Rosenthal’s widow Maureen Lipman, who also played a leading role in the film.
The cast for the new stage version, adapted by Simon Block, are: Steven Pacey as Mr Burgess, Celine Abrahams, James Alexandrou, Jenna Augen, Louise Callaghan, Ben Caplan, Michael Chance, Alice Felgate and Fabien Frankel.
Set against the backdrop of the harsh economic times of 1979, the play follows the hilarious struggles of four Londoners as they attempt to better themselves by attempting the fearsome “Knowledge” – the process of becoming a London black cab taxi driver. Standing between them and the coveted Green Badge is the eccentric Mr Burgess, the examiner. Also known as “The Vampire”, he is on an obsessive mission to maintain standards.
The Knowledge is designed by Nicolai Hart-Hansen, with costumes by Jonathan Lipman and sound by Andrew Johnson. It’s produced by Vaughan Williams and Steven M Levy.
Steven Pacey (Mr Burgess) was nominated for an Olivier Award as Bertie Wooster in the musical By Jeeves and among his many other West End appearances include Peter in Relative Values, King Arthur in Spamalot, Larkin in Six Degrees of Separation, George in La Cage Aux Folles.
Celine Abrahams (Brenda) played Roxanne in McMafia (BBC), Olga in Three Sisters (Union Theatre), 5 Kinds of Silence (Arcola).
James Alexandrou (Gordon) is best known for playing Martin Fowler in EastEnders from 1996 – 2007. As part of the Shakespeare 450 celebrations, he played Iago in Grassroots Shakespeare London’s production of Othello at Leicester Square Theatre and also performed sonnets at the Guildhall with Damian Lewis. His recent stage roles include Romeo in Romeo & Juliet at The Globe, Milo in Sleuth, Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front.
Jenna Augen (Val) won Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the UK Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Daphna in Bad Jews (St James Theatre/Arts Theatre). Her other roles include Foible in The Way of the World (Chichester Festival Theatre) Ada Kahn in Chicken Soup with Barley (Royal Court).
Louise Callaghan (MIss Staveley) played Sarah Box in Foxfinder (Theatre 503), Lynette in Noughts and Crosses (Royal Shakespeare Company) Lizzie Bains in Holding Fire! (Shakespeare’s Globe).
Ben Caplan (Ted) was series regular PC Peter Noakes in Call the Midwife and Walter “Smokey” Gordon in the 6-part HBO series Band of Brothers. In the West End he played Eddie Kassner in Sunny Afternoon.
Michael Chance (Arab tourist) was most recently, along with Maureen Lipman, in Lettice and Lovage (Menier Chocolate Factory).
Alice Felgate (Janet) was series regular Ellie Mason in You, Me & Them (Gold) and Lila in Plaques & Tangles (Royal Court Theatre).
Fabien Frankel (Chris) recently graduated from LAMDA. He is making his professional debut.