NEWS: Casting is announced for Hampstead Theatre’s Describe the Night & The Phlebotomist

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Casting has been announced for Hampstead Theatre productions of Describe the Night on the Main Stage and The Phlebotomist Downstairs.

David Birrell, Ben Caplan, Siena Kelly, Wendy Kweh, Joel MacCormack, Rebecca O’Mara and Steve John Shepherd line up for the UK premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night (30 April to 9 June 2018, press night is 9 May).

Directed by Lisa Spirling, this darkly comic rhapsody on Russian themes explores the blurred lines between lies, fiction and conspiracy theories, as it tracks back and forth across 90 years of Soviet and post-Soviet history in search of the genesis of the post-truth world.

In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel reports on a Red Cavalry campaign in Poland. In 1936, Stalin’s NKVD chief Nicolai Yezhov unleashes the Great Purge. In 1989, a mysterious KGB agent spying on a woman in Dresden falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes near the Russian city of Smolensk…


David Birrell plays Nikolai. His theatre credits include The Shadow Factory (NST City, Southampton); The Threepenny Opera; Talking Heads; Educating Rita (Bolton Octagon/Derby Theatre); The Wind in the Willows (Original Cast UK tour); The War Has Not Yet Started (Theatre Royal Plymouth); An Enemy of the People (Bolton Octagon); The Family Way; Journey’s End (Bolton Octagon); The Death of King Arthur (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); Peter Pan; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Ragtime (Regent’s Park); The Last Days of Troy (Royal Exchange/Shakespeare’s Globe); Sweeney Todd (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Royal Exchange); A Little Night Music (Guildford/West End); Company (Sheffield Crucible); Passion and Grand Hotel (Donmar Warehouse); The Secret Garden; Hapgood; Peter Pan (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse); The Real Thing (Salisbury Playhouse); Spamalot (original West End cast); Henry V (Propeller); Oh! What A Lovely War (National Theatre); The Venetian Twins; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Moby Dick; The Tempest; Murder in the Cathedral; Hamlet; Columbus and Romeo and Juliet (RSC).

Ben Caplan plays Isaac Babel. His theatre credits include The Knowledge (Charing Cross), Abigail’s Party (Theatre Royal, Bath/UK tour), Sunny Afternoon (Hampstead Theatre/West End), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse), Shiver (Watford Palace); Playing With Grown Ups (Theatre503); A Winter’s Tale; Dr. Korzcak’s Example (Unicorn); Titanic (The MAC, Belfast); Seven Jewish Children (Royal Court); The Common Pursuit (Menier Chocolate Factory); Three Sisters on Hope Street (Liverpool Everyman/Hampstead Theatre); Two Thousand Years (National Theatre); The Man of the Future is Dead (Edinburgh), Hamlet (Southampton Nuffield); The Dwarfs (Tricycle), As You Like It (Oxford Playhouse) and SWEAT (Bloomsbury).

Siena Kelly plays Urzula. Her theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Old Vic); On the Town (Regent’s Park); King Kong the Musical (workshop); Little Red Riding Hood (National Youth Ballet); Water Babies: The Musical (Curve, Leicester); Bugsy Malone (Workshop – The Lyric); West Side Story and 13 The Musical (National Youth Music Theatre).

Wendy Kweh plays Mariya/Mrs Petronova. Her theatre credits include Julius Ceasar (The Bridge); Snow in Midsummer (RSC); The Sugar Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie (HighTide Festival); Boy (Almeida); You For Me For You (Royal Court); Image of an Unknown Young Woman (Gate); Chimerica (West End); Moonwalking in Chinatown (Soho); The Oresteia (National Theatre).

Joel MacCormack plays Feliks. His theatre credits include The Oresteia (Shakespeare’s Globe); Measure For Measure (Shakespeare’s Globe); Each His Own Wilderness (Orange Tree); Oppenheimer and The Shoemaker’s Holiday (both RSC).

Rebecca O’Mara plays Yevgenia. Her theatre credits include Melt (Rough Magic); Private Lives (Gate); Helen and I (Druid); Othello (Abbey); Chekhov’s First Play (Dead Centre); Wuthering Heights (Gate); The Aristocrats (Abbey); The Vortex; Pride and Prejudice; Mrs Warren’s Profession and Hay Fever (all Gate, Dublin); Moment (Bush); Danton’s Death (National Theatre); The Yalta Game (Gate, Dublin/Edinburgh International Festival); Far from the Madding Crowd (ETT); Deep Blue Sea (Theatre Royal, Bath/Vaudeville) and Salt Meets Wound (Theatre503).

Steve John Shepherd plays Vova. His theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe); Plastic (Theatre Royal, Bath); The Good Canary (Rose, Kingston); A View From Islington North (Out of Joint); Bomber’s Moon (Trafalgar Studios/Park Theatre); Albion (Bush); Piaf (Donmar/Vaudeville); The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder and Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (both National Theatre); Original Sin (Sheffield Crucible); Twelfth Night (UK tour) and Dangerous Corner (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Garrick).

In the creative team are designer Polly Sullivan, lighting designer, and sound designer Johanna Town, with composition by Richard Hammarton.

Jade Anouka, Vincent Ebrahim, Rory Fleck Byrne and Cherrelle Skeete have been cast in the world premiere of The Phlebotomist, written by Ella Road and directed by Sam Yates (12 April to 19 May 2018, press night is 25 April).

In a world where future happiness depends on a single, inescapable blood test – which dictates everything from credit rating to dating prospects – how far will people go to beat the system and let nature take its course?


Jade Anouka plays Bea. Her theatre credits include Cover My Tracks (Old Vic); Shakespeare Trilogy (Donmar at King’s Cross); Doctor Faustus (West End); Julius Caesar; Henry IV and The Tempest (all Donmar/St. Ann’s Warehouse, NY); So Here We Are (Royal Exchange/High Tide); Chef (Soho); The Vote (Donmar); Omeros (Sam Wanamaker); Clean (Traverse/59E59, NY); Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Globe); Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Bolton Octagon); Wild Horses (Theatre503); Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare’s Globe/US tour); Blood Wedding (Southwark Playhouse); Twelfth Night (York Theatre Royal); The Taming of the Shrew; The Merchant of Venice (RSC); The Penelopiad (RSC/NAC, Canada) and Handa’s Surprise (Little Angel Theatre).

Vincent Ebrahim pays David. His theatre credits include Dara; Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre); Bad Roads; The Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court); The Empress (RSC); The Great Game (Tricycle/US tour); Occupational Hazards; Nathan the Wise (Hampstead Theatre); Credible Witness (Royal Court Upstairs); Ramayana (Birmingham Rep/National Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tara Arts/Lyric); Tartuffe; Little Clay Cart; Fanshen (National Theatre) Real Dreams and The Danton Affair (RSC).

Rory Fleck Byrne plays Aaron. His theatre credits include Anna Karenina (Abbey); King Charles III (Wyndham’s); The Vortex (Gate, Dublin); That Face (Landor); The Lion in Winter (Haymarket); Disco Pigs (Young Vic); Cause Célèbre (Old Vic) and Antony and Cleopatra (Liverpool Everyman).

Cherrelle Skeete plays Char. Her theatre credits include The Seagull; Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith); Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace); Three Days in the Country; Amen Corner (National Theatre); The Wind in the Willows (Royal & Derngate Theatre); The 24 Hour Plays: Old Vic New Voices (Old Vic) I and Silence (Finborough) and The Lion King (Disney Theatrical Productions).

The production is designed by Rosanna Vize, with video designs by Duncan McLean, lighting by Zoe Spurr and sound by Alex Twiselton.

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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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