Nigel Harman and Sarah Hadland star in the UK première of What’s In A Name?, which runs at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 27 January to 11 February 2017.
A ferocious farce, What’s In A Name? hilariously captures a particularly awkward family dinner party conversation. Adapted and directed by Jeremy Sams from the award-winning French stage and film sensation, Le Prénom, by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière, this witty and razor-sharp new version also features Raymond Coulthard, Jamie Glover and Olivia Poulet.
Father-to-be Vincent and his partner Anna are invited to dinner by his sister Elizabeth and her husband, Peter. They are joined by childhood friend Claude for a mature and sophisticated gathering.
The meal is lovingly prepared and wine carefully selected. The friends are prepared for the usual humorous exchanges they’ve come to expect. But tonight a startling revelation about the name chosen for Vincent’s expected child becomes the catalyst for a destructive argument which spirals hysterically out of control. Tonight nobody is holding back! Egos, childish resentment and unspoken feelings are relentlessly and hilariously exposed for the first time.
Can their friendship survive tonight’s vicious name calling and home truths? And how well did they ever really know each other? One thing’s for certain, their relationships are about to change forever.
What’s In A Name? will be designed by Francis O’Connor with lighting design by Rick Fisher.
Playing Vincent is Nigel Harman. Nigel is best known for playing Dennis Rickman in BBC’s EastEnders and more recently as visiting valet, Mr Green, in ITV’s Downton Abbey. His many acclaimed stage roles include Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical (Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical), Simon Cowell in the X Factor Musical I Can’t Sing, Guys And Dolls and A Chorus of Disaproval all in the West End and The Caretaker (UK tour).
Sarah Hadland, who plays Elizabeth, is best known for playing Miranda Hart’s side-kick, Stevie Spencer in the BBC comedy series, Miranda. Her other TV credits include ITV’s The Job Lot and Ballot Monkeys for Channel 4. Sarah’s stage credits include Raving at Hampstead Theatre and Canvas at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Raymond Coulthard, who plays Claude, returns to Birmingham Repertory Theatre following his acclaimed portrayal as King George VI in The King’s Speech. His other extensive theatre credits include most recently Half Life at Bath Theatre Royal, The Heresy of Love and Measure for Measure for the RSC and Women Beware Women at the National Theatre. On television, he is best known for playing the role of Miles Egerton in ITV’s Mr Selfridge on ITV and played James Schofield in Hotel Babylon on BBC.
Playing Peter is Jamie Glover, whose previous theatre credits include Noises Off in the West End and If Only at Chichester Festival Theatre. On TV he played deputy head, Andrew Treneman in the BBC series Waterloo Road.
Completing the cast is Olivia Poulet as Anna. Olivia’s theatre credits include Top Girls in the West End, Product at the Arcola and The Captain of Kopenick at the National Theatre. On television Olivia played Amanda in BBC’s Sherlock and Emma Messenger in The Thick of It.
Highly respected director Jeremy Sams has adapted and directed multiple celebrated productions. As a director his credits include The Wizard of Oz (West End and world tour), The Sound of Music (West End and Toronto), Noises Off (National Theatre, West End, UK tour and Broadway) and Benefactors (UK tour and West End). His credits as an adaptor include The Park (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Rehearsal (Almeida and West End), Beckett (West End) and Les Parents Terribles (National Theatre and Broadway).