With its UK premiere earlier this year at The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth’s fast-paced, hilarious and (slightly) bonkers Monster Raving Loony brings its party fun and punkish anarchy to Soho Theatre next month. Opening on 17 May 2016, Monster Raving Loony by James Graham will preview from 14 May, and run until 18 June.
Using the life and exploits of Screaming Lord Sutch to examine the state of the nation and Britain’s post-war identity crisis, Samuel James reprises his critically acclaimed role as Sutch, a ventriloquist channelling the cultural voices around him.
Seen through the eyes of this one extraordinary man, James Graham displays his playwriting virtuosity and in his forensic, sardonic, finger on the pulse style, tells the story of Sutch through a cavalcade of comic characters from music hall to Monty Python, panto to Partridge. Can our British sense of humour begin to uncover who we are, where we have been and where we might be going next?
Simon Stokes directs with Joseph Alessi, Camilla Beeput, Joanna Brookes, Jack Brown, Samuel James and composer/musician Tom Attwood all reprising their roles. Set & Costume Design is by Bob Bailey with lighting design by Chahine Yavroyan, audio visual design by Duncan McLean and sound design by Gregory Clarke. Guest Director is Cal McCrystal (with a trademark bravura farce contribution).
James Graham’s theatre work includes The Vote (Donmar Warehouse, broadcast live on More4 on election night and nominated for Best Live Event at the Bafta TV awards), The Angry Brigade (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Paines Plough), the Broadway musical Finding Neverland, written with Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy, Privacy (Donmar Warehouse), This House (National Theatre – nominated for the Olivier Best Play Award), The Man (Finborough Theate and on tour), The Whisky Taster (Bush Theatre) and Tory Boyz (Soho Theatre). As Writer in Residence at the Finborough Theatre his plays include Albert’s Boy, Eden’s Empire and Sons of York. His television writing includes last spring’s political drama Coalition (Channel 4), Prisoner’s Wives (BBC1) and Caught in a Trap (ITV1). His first feature film X+Y was released last year after being selected at the Toronto International Film Festival and London Film Festival, winner of the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Debut Screenplay.
Samuel James plays David Sutch. He previously performed in the Theatre Royal Plymouth production Grand Guignol and Stockholm (co-production with Frantic Assembly). His other theatre credits include Twelfth Night, Women Beware Women (National Theatre), Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre), The Full Monty (Prince of Wales Theatre), Fault Lines (Hampstead Theatre), Abigail’s Party (Theatre Royal Bath) and Decade (Headlong Theatre). His television credits include Birds of a Feather, The Shadow Line, Battle of Britain, Rose and Maloney, and New Worlds. His film credits include Psychic Spies and Closer.
Joseph Alessi’s recent theatre credits include The One That Got Away (Bath Ustinov Studio), The Hook (Liverpool Everyman), Brief Encounter (Broadway/ Australian & US tour), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal & Derngate), The Wind in the Willows, Privates on Parade, Jerusalem (all West Yorkshire Playhouse), Wonderful Town (Kenny Wax Ltd), Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, The Tempest (all RSC). His television credits include I Live with Models, Mummy’s Boys, Mr Selfridge, God on Trial, Revelations, In a Land of Plenty, Wing and Prayer, Kavanagh, Pie in the Sky, All in the Game, The Chief. His film credits include The Other Woman, Family Business, Bridget Jones’ Diary, London Kills me and Chaplin.
Camilla Beeput’s recent theatre credits include In The Red and Brown Water (Young Vic), Bad Girls (Garrick Theatre), Daddy Cool (Shaftesbury Theatre), West Side Story (Leicester Haymarket) and Money To Burn (The Venue). Her television credits include Partners in Crime, New Tricks, Bull, Grantchester, Birds of a Feather, Legends, Scott and Bailey, Me and Mrs Jones, White Van Man, Peep Show, Death in Paradise and Top Boy. Her film credits include Writer’s Retreat, Mortdecai, Superbob and Harry Hill The Movie.
Joanna Brookes’s theatre credits include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Birmingham REP), The Importance Of Being Earnest (Nottingham Playhouse), The Physicists (Donmar Warehouse) and The Waltz Of The Toreadors (Chichester Festival Theatre). Her television credits include Siblings, Watson and Oliver, Taking the Flak, Tiny And Mr. Duk’s Huge Show, Alistair McGowan’s Xmas Special and Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression. Her film credits include The Magnificent Eleven and In The Loop.
Jack Brown’s theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michael Grandage Company/West End), Symphony (Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe/NT Watch This Space, UK tour), Home (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The History Boys (Theatre By The Lake). His television credits include Skins, World Without End, Meet Sam and Caerdydd; for film, Razors, Mighty Milk, Minuet, Nectar, Saturday Saturday, When We Were Wolfs.
Tom Attwood works as an actor, music director, composer and educator. His theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (The Castle Theatre Wellingborough), As You Like It (Creation Theatre), Cole (Frinton Summer Theatre and The Yvonne Arnaud), the German première of Ghost the Musical (English Theatre Frankfurt), Hopelessly Devoted (Paines Plough/Birmingham REP) and The Wind in the Willows (West Yorkshire Playhouse). He worked at the National Theatre for 5 years contributing to The History Boys (Lyttleton, UK tour, West End, international tour and Broadway) and The Habit of Art (Lyttleton and UK tour).
Simon Stokes is Artistic Director at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. He was Artistic Director at the Bush Theatre through the 1970s and 1980s. Thereafter, alongside a freelance career, he was Associate Director and Director of Development for the Turnstyle Group in London’s West End. He has directed abroad in Germany, Switzerland, Israel and the USA. His work includes Emmanuel Darley’s Tuesdays at Tesco’s with Simon Callow (Assembly Productions), Kiss of the Spiderwoman with Callow and Mark Rylance (Bush Theatre), When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout by Sharman Macdonald, with Julie Walters, Geraldine James and Dawn French (Bush Theatre and West End), A Slip of the Tongue by Dusty Hughes, with John Malkovich and Ingeborga Dapkunaite (Steppenwolf Theatre Chicago and West End), and, in Plymouth, he directed Carl Grose’s Grand Guignol and Horse Piss for Blood, The Astronaut’s Chair by Rona Munro, Nostalgia by Lucinda Coxon, Moonshine by Snoo Wilson and both The Green Man and Presence by Doug Lucie.