One of Britain’s most revered comedy icons, John Cleese, is collaborating with the Mercury Theatre Colchester to bring his brand new adaptation of Georges Feydeau’s 1892 French farce, Bang Bang, to the stage this spring. Cast is announced today for the production, directed by Cleese’s long-time friend, actor-director Nicky Henson, which runs 24 February to 11 March 2017, with a press night on 1 March.
Leontine (Caroline Langrishe), a respectable lady of high society is in danger of being hoodwinked by her husband Duchotel (Oliver Cotton). When Duchotel goes hunting, his prey is not four-legged animals!
While he is away (“bang bang!”), back home his lifelong friend Dr Moricette (Richard Earl) comes calling – and he’s on the hunt too. Will Leontine get caught in his sights, or instead set a trap of her own?
Saucy secrets unravel as the devilish Duchotel finds himself snared in a door-slamming, trouser-dropping, lover-hiding, balcony-climbing night of chaos set in the stylish apartments of Paris.
The cast also includes: Peter Bourke, Sarah Crowden, Richard Earl, Jess Murphy, Robert Neumark Jones and Simon Hepworth.
Adaptation author John Cleese said:
“I couldn’t be more delighted with the cast we’ve put together for Bang Bang. We’ve had two read-throughs, both of them riots. My old pal Nicky Henson is directing, to mark our 51st year of friendship. A great farceur, he played the lead in the West End cast of Noises Off, the most successful farce of the past 30 years and also played the young man, Mr Johnson, in the Fawlty Towers episode about the two psychiatrists. This is farce as it should be played (just like Fawlty Towers)!”
Mercury Theatre Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd said: “This adaptation really means a lot to John – he has wanted to bring it to the stage for a long time. So it’s a real honour for the Mercury Theatre to work with John Cleese and Nicky Henson to bring BANG BANG to life. This story leaps off the page, and in the hands of the supremely talented cast and creative team we’ve assembled, I’m confident that audiences will love it.”
Director Nicky Henson was a founder member of the Young Vic Company and has worked extensively as an actor with the National Theatre, Young Vic, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, although his most recognizable role is perhaps as Mr Johnson, the open-collared, medallion-wearing playboy loathed by Basil Fawlty in the Fawlty Towers episode The Psychiatrist. He is also a prolific director of Alan Ayckbourn plays.
Oliver Cotton is known for his prolific work on stage with the National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. He is also known for playing Cesare Borgia in BBC’s TV drama series The Borgias, and penning the funny, poignant drama Daytona. Oliver was most recently seen in Trevor Nunn’s The Wars of the Roses at Rose Theatre Kingston.
Caroline Langrishe‘s prolific TV career includes playing Charlotte Cavendish in two series of Lovejoy, and regular roles in Casualty and Doctors. Caroline’s stage credits include Hypolita in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Young Vic), Mary in The Memory of Water (New Vic Theatre) and The Countess Lovel in Lady Anna All At Sea (Park Theatre).
Peter Bourke will play the part of Cassagne. Peter’s credits include: The English Game (Headlong Theatre); Dial M for Murder (West-End and Tour); The Elephant Man (National Theatre).
Sarah Crowden will play Cassagne’s wife, The Countess. Sarah’s credits include: Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket); The Trial (The Young Vic); Little Women (Duchess Theatre). Her Television credits include the recurring character Lady Manville in Downtown Abbey and Lady Exeter in the BBC’s Wolf Hall.
Richard Earl will play Dr Moricet. Richard most recently appeared at the Mercury Theatre Colchester as Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington. His other theatre credits include: Abigail’s Party; The 39 Steps; ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Theatre By The Lake); Those Magnificent Men (UK Theatre Tour).
Jess Murphy will play Babette. Jess’ theatre credits include: Watership Down (Watermill Theatre); Macbeth (The Globe); War Horse (National Theatre); Bedroom Farce (The Little Theatre).
Robert Neumark Jones plays the dapper but hapless young lover Gontran. He makes his regional theatre debut in BANG BANG, recently graduating from Drama Centre London at Central St Martins. His stage credits include Caliban in The Tempest (London Theatre Workshop).
Simon Hepworth plays Police Inspector Bridois. His credits include: Shakespeare & Spying (Salisbury Playhouse); Single Spies (Chichester Festival /Birmingham Rep); Antony and Cleopatra (Chichester Festival Theatre).