Matthew Horne, Emily Atack, Adelayo Adedayo, Lucy Briggs-Owen and Jake Ferretti have joined the cast of an exclusive semi-staged rehearsed reading of The Understudy at London’s Palace Theatre from 7 to 8 December 2020.
The play forms part of the initiative first launched by the Lawrence Batley Theatre in May 2020, with proceeds once again being split between Acting For Others, the Equity Charitable Trust and The Theatre Development Trust, run by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre.
Directed by Giles Croft, The Understudy is written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and will be accompanied by Dusthouse’s wonderful animation from the play’s online version. Having previously recorded their lines in isolation, this will be the first time the actors will be performing together in the flesh as they swap their makeshift recording studios at home for the real life stage.
Based on the novel by the best-selling author David Nicholls, The Understudy tells the story of an underdog – a failed husband, a failing father, a failing actor, and the impossible choice he’s going to have to make between stealing the show and stealing another man’s wife.
Actor Stephen McQueen has just landed a dream West End role. Well, that’s not quite true – he’s going to be is understudying film star (and 12th Sexiest Man in the World) Josh Harper in the brand-new show ‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’, but still… Whilst he’s waiting for his time to shine, he reflects on his career – one that has spanned everything from (non-speaking) Rent Boy 3 in ‘The Bill’ to his recent starring role as Sammy in the (low-budget) regional tour of ‘Sammy The Squirrel’s Seriously Silly Safari’.
With this new job Stephen’s stage career may be destined for the dizzying heights, but not everything is going quite as well. Stephen’s wife left him two years ago, wondering if he’d ever grow up; his daughter wonders when he’ll get an actual job; worst of all, he’s starting to fall for the leading man’s wife.
The Understudy was originally commissioned by The Lowry, Salford.