With Holy Sh!t – the inaugural production in the newly refurbished theatre – in rehearsals, Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham today announces the full cast for the world premiere of Stephen Sharkey’s adaptation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. The production opens on 5 November, with previews from 26 October, and runs until 22 December.
The cast are: Ayesha Antoine (Irie Jones), Michele Austin (Mad Mary), Philip Bird (Des/Marc Perret/Marcus Chalfen), Ayesha Dharker (Alsana Iqbal), Naomi Frederick (Ruth/Poppy/Joyce Chalfen), Tony Jayawardena (Samad Iqbal), Richard Lumsden (Archie Jones), Karl Queensborough (Anthony /Denise/Josh Chalfen), Sid Sagar (Magid Iqbal), Amanda Wilkin (Rosie Jones), Assad Zaman (Millat Iqbal), and actor-musicians Matthew Churcher, Nenda Neurer (also Clara Jones) and Zoe West.
‘You’re in Kilburn. Melting pot where nothing’s actually melted it’s all just kinda stuck together at the bottom in a gooey mess, know what I mean?’
Rosie Jones, the Iqbal twins, their parents, their grandparents, Mad Mary and an avalanche of other characters who make up the everyday chaos of Kilburn High Road come together in an extraordinary revelry of NW6. An epic comedy with music and dance, this theatrical rollercoaster takes us on a fast-paced journey through history, different cultures and chance encounters.
Zadie Smith’s breakthrough 1999 novel is adapted for the stage by acclaimed playwright Stephen Sharkey and directed by Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham in a major world première.
The production is designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, sound by Carolyn Downing, music by Paul Englishby and video by Lizzie Pocock.
Ayesha Antoine returns to the theatre to play Irie Jones – she previously appeared in Red Velvet (Garrick Theatre), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes and The House That Will Not Stand. Her other theatre work includes Hamlet (Garrick Theatre), Life of Galileo, Trade (Young Vic), Dirty Great Love Story (Arts Theatre), The Suicide (National Theatre), The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange/Told By An Idiot), We Are Proud to Present… (Bush Theatre), Tartuffe (Birmingham REP), Absurd Person Singular, My Wonderful Day, Surprises (Stephen Joseph Theatre/ 59E59), One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Sheffield Crucible/Eclipse Theatre Company tour), Carrot (Theatre503), The Mountaintop (Derby Playhouse), Blue/Orange (Tiata Fahodzi/Arcola Theatre), Madblud, Family Man, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Big White Fog (Almeida Theatre) and The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Lyric Hammersmith/Told By An Idiot tour). For television her work includes Thunderbirds are Go!, Chewing Gum, Pompidou, Doctor Who, Holby City, Bellamy’s People, Mongrels, Mouth to Mouth, and Grange Hill.
Michele Austin returns to the theatre to play Mad Mary – she previously appeared in The House That Will Not Stand and The Riots. Her other theatre work includes Instructions for Correct Assembly, Breath Boom, Been So Long (Royal Court Theatre), The Seagull (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith), Medea (Almeida Theatre), Pride and Prejudice (Sheffield Theatres), I Know How I Feel About Eve, Out in the Open (Hampstead Theatre), To Kill a Mockingbird (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre), Generations (Young Vic), and Our Country’s Good(Out of Joint/Young Vic). For television, her work includes Dark Heart, The Coroner, Casual Vacancy, Death in Paradise, Harry & Paul, Secret Life, The Canterbury Tales and Gimme Gimme; and for film, The Children’s Act, What We Did on Our Holidays, Parking Wars, Another Year, The Infidel, Valentine’s Day, All or Nothing and Secrets and Lies.
Philip Bird plays Des/Marc Perret/Marcus Chalfen. His theatre credits include Cell Mates, Labyrinth (Hampstead Theatre), Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre/Hampstead), The Potsdam Quartet (Jermyn Street Theatre), Wild Oats (Bristol Old Vic), The Cherry Orchard (Royal Lyceum), In The Club (Rho Delta), Sweet Panic (Duke of York’s Theatre), Abigail’s Party (Whitehall Theatre), Semi-Detached (Chichester Festival Theatre), Family Viewing (King’s Head Theatre), The Marriage of Figaro (The Watermill Theatre), and The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, A New World, The Merchant of Venice, Holding Fire!, The Winter’s Tale, Troilus and Cressida, Cymbeline, King John (Shakespeare’s Globe). For television, his work includes Emerald City, My Shakespeare, The Fades, My Family, Diamond Geezer II, Silent Witness, Murder City, Feather Boy, Into The Void, Murder In Mind, The Glass, and The Wild House; and for film, Blessed, Imagine Me and You, In The Dark, and Virtual Sexuality.
Matthew Churcher is an actor-musician. His theatre work includes The Great Gatsby (Theatre Clwyd and Halifax), Jane Eyre (National Theatre and UK tour), All or Nothing (UK tour), War Horse (New London Theatre and National Theatre), Ignition: 60 Hugs (Frantic Assembly), and Loaded (Out of Inc). His short films include Ken Loach’s Star Wars. He is also a professional drummer/percussionist and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, BBC and toured both nationally and internationally.
Ayesha Dharker plays Alsana Iqbal. Her theatre credits include The Island Nation (Arcola Theatre), Arabian Nights, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), Anita and Me (Birmingham REP and Theatre Royal Stratford East), Dr Faustus (Bristol Old Vic), Bombay Dreams (West End and Broadway) and The Ramayana (National Theatre/Birmingham REP). For television her credits include Indian Summers, Critical, The Indian Doctor, Little Crackers, Coronation Street (as series regular Tara Mandal), Doctor Who, Bodies, Waking the Dead, Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee and A Mouthful of Sky; and for film, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Anita and Me, Arabian Nights, Red Alert: The War Within, Mad Sad & Bad, Loins of Punjab Presents, Outsourced, Colour Me Kubrick, The Mistress of Spices.
Naomi Frederick plays Ruth/Poppy/Joyce Chalfen. Her theatre work includes Agnes Colander, The Mentor and Hobson’s Choice (Theatre Royal Bath), The Heresy of Love, Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre), Emil and the Detectives, Mrs Affleck, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, The Mandate (National Theatre), The Winslow Boy (The Old Vic), The Master Builder (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Measure for Measure (National Theatre and Complicité – Ian Charles Award 2nd Prize). For television, her work includesInspector George Gently, Virtuoso, My Family, On Expenses, and The Trial of Tony Blair; and for film, The Aftermath and The Children’s Act.
Tony Jayawardena returns to the theatre to play Samad Iqbal – he previously appeared in The Invisible Hand. His theatre credits include Young Marx (Bridge Theatre), Lions and Tigers, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre), The Roaring Girl, The Arden of Faversham, The White Devil, The Empress, Twelfth Night (RSC), Dick Whittington, Love and Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Wind In The Willows (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells/ Kneehigh), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre), The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal and Derngate, Northampton), London Assurance, All’s Well That Ends Well, England People Very Nice (National Theatre). For television his recent work includes Ackley Bridge, The Tunnel, The Windsors, Strike Back, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; and for film, his work includes Towerblock, Trance and A Cat Named Bob.
Richard Lumsden plays Archie Jones. His theatre work includes It’s All Made Up (Royal Court), Uncle Vanya, Our Town (Almeida Theatre), Fall and Rise of Lenny Smallman (Arts Theatre, Mill Theatre), We Could Be Heroes (Bridewell Theatre) and Glory of the Garden (Duke of York’s Theatre). For television, his extensive credits include Shakespeare and Hathaway, Doc Martin, Millie Inbetween, Crazyhead, Father Brown, Trollied, Remember Me, All at Sea, Vexed, Life of Riley and Garrow’s Law; and for film, Darkest Hour, The Heart of Lightness, Downhill, City Slackers, Silent Cry, Room to Rent, The Avengers and Sense and Sensibility.
Nenda Neurer is an actor-musician and also plays Clara Jones. She represented Rose Bruford at the 2017 Sam Wanamaker Festival, playing Vittoria in The White Devil. Her other theatre credits include Jerusalem, The Borrowers (The Watermill Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Orange Tree Theatre).
Karl Queensborough returns to the theatre to play Anthony/Denise/Josh Chalfen – he previously appeared in A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes. His other theatre work includes Sylvia (Old Vic/ Zoo Nation), The Little Matchgirl (Shakespeare’s Globe/ Bristol Old Vic), The Machine Stops (Theatre Royal York/ Pilot Theatre), Only the Brave (Soho Theatre/ Wales Millennium Centre/ Bird Song), Aladdin, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith), Dayglo, Mind the Gap, (Y Touring); Morning (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith/Traverse Theatre), 365 (National Theatre of Scotland), and Ignition Out of Reach (Frantic Assembly).
Sid Sagar returns to the theatre to play Magid Iqbal – he previously appeared in The Invisible Hand. His other theatre credits include Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre), Queen Anne(RSC/Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Tempest, Cymbeline, The Oresteia, The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe), Treasure (Finborough Theatre), The History Boys (UK tour), True Brits(HighTide/ Edinburgh/Bush Theatre), and Eternal Love (Shakespeare’s Globe & English Touring Theatre). His television work includes Press, Strike: Career of Evil, The Hollow Crown and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies; and for film, Eaten By Troll, Murder on the Orient Express, Karma Magnet.
Zoe West is an actor-musician. Her theatre work includes The Lost Ones (Bush Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Theatr Clwyd), Creatives (The Pleasance, Edinburgh) and Constance and Sinestra(The Ugly Duck, London Bridge). She is also a singer songwriter and played at Billy Bragg’s Left Field at Glastonbury in 2017.
Amanda Wilkin plays Rosie Jones. Her theatre work includes The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Studios), The 306: Day (National Theatre of Scotland), La Ronde (Bunker Theatre), Pilgrims (Theatre Clwyd/ HighTide Festival/The Yard Theatre), Emilia, Hamlet, Gabriel, The Tempest (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hopelessly Devoted (Paines Plough & Birmingham REP), Arabian Nights (The Watermill Theatre), The Bacchae, Blood Wedding (Royal and Derngate), Marat/Sade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), Stamping, Shouting and Singing Home (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), and The Twits (Duke’s Theatre). Television includes Berlin Station and Gavin and Stacey; and for film, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!.
Assad Zaman plays Millat Iqbal. His theatre credits include Coriolanus, Salome, First Encounters Julius Caesar (RSC), I Wanna Be Yours (Paines Plough), Arms and the Man (Watford Palace), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich), East is East (UK tour for Jamie Lloyd Productions/ATG), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), Beats North (Northern Stage/Curious Monkey), Tyne (Live Theatre and Theatre Royal Newcastle) and Grimm Tales (Northern Stage). For television, his work includes Vera, Apple Tree Yard and Cucumber.
Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists. Her first novel, White Teeth, was the winner of The Whitbread First Novel Award, The Guardian First Book Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and The Commonwealth Writers’ First Book Award. Her second novel, The Autograph Man, won The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize. Zadie Smith’s third novel, On Beauty, won the Orange Prize for Fiction, The Commonwealth Writers’ Best Book Award (Eurasia Section) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her fourth novel, NW, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel, Swing Time, was published in November 2016 and has been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. She published an essay collection, Changing My Mind, in 2009; a second collection, Feel Free, was published in 2018. Zadie Smith writes regularly for the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books and is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.
Stephen Sharkey has translated and adapted a wide variety of classic and classical stories for the stage, including works by Euripides, Aristophanes, Wilde, Defoe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dostoevsky, Dickens and Goncharov. His most recent work includes Inkheart – adapted with Walter Meierjohann for HOME, a version of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Feydeau’s Sex and the Three Day Week, both commissioned by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, and an adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Northern Stage). He wrote three further Christmas shows for Northern Stage: Hansel and Gretel, Peter Pan and The Glass Slipper. His translation of Ion by Euripides was produced by the Gate Theatre, London, and he reworked Birds by Aristophanes as a musical comedy for children called Cloudcuckooland which toured the UK. His play The May Queen was produced by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. He has also written plays for BBC Radio 4: the first of these All of You on the Good Earth won the Society of Authors’ Richard Imison prize for best radio debut.
Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre Indhu Rubasingham directs. She is currently in rehearsals for Holy Sh!t – the world première of Alexis Zegerman’s new play which will be the opening production in the refurbished theatre. Her work for the company includes Red Velvet (which transferred to New York and later to the Garrick Theatre as part of the Kenneth BranaghSeason) and Handbagged (Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre – also West End, UK tour and Washington DC). Other productions for Kiln Theatre include The Invisible Hand, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not Stand, Paper Dolls, Women, Power and Politics, Stones in His Pockets, Detaining Justice, The Great Game:Afghanistan, Fabulation and Starstruck. Other theatre credits include The Great Wave, Ugly Lies the Bone, The Motherf**cker with the Hat (Evening Standard Award for Best Play), TheWaiting Room (all National Theatre), The Ramayana (National Theatre/ Birmingham REP), Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch and Sugar Mummies (Royal Court Theatre), Ruined (Almeida Theatre), Yellowman and Anna in the Tropics (Hampstead Theatre), Secret Rapture and The Misanthrope (Minerva, Chichester), Romeo and Juliet (ChichesterFestival Theatre ), Pure Gold (Soho Theatre), The No Boys Cricket Club and Party Girls (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Wuthering Heights (Birmingham REP), Heartbreak House (Watford Palace Theatre), Sugar Dollies and Shakuntala (Gate Theatre), A River Sutra (Three Mill Island Studios), Rhinoceros (UC Davis, California) and A Doll’s House (Young Vic).