Original Theatre Company has announced its first live stage production since March 2020, which will be filmed on stage at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre and released online, before touring UK theatres early summer. Ben Brown’s new political drama, A Splinter Of Ice, will be filmed as a high quality, three-camera recording for online release on the company’s streaming platform, Original Theatre Online, from 15 April until 31 July 2021. Tour dates will be announced in due course. Directed by Alan Strachan with Alastair Whatley, the production will star Oliver Ford Davies as Graham Greene, Stephen Boxer as Kim Philby and Sara Crowe as Rufa Philby.
Moscow 1987 and the cold war begins to thaw. After declining his offer for more than 30 years, novelist Graham Greene travels into the heart of the Soviet Union to meet with his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby. Under the watchful eye of Kim’s Russian wife, Rufa, the two men set about catching up on old times. With a new world order breaking out around them, how much did the writer of The Third Man know about Philby’s secret life as a spy and did Philby betray his friend as well as his country?
From the writer and director of the award-winning West End play Three Days in May, which inspired the Oscar-winning film Darkest Hour, Brown’s new political drama explores an unlikely friendship; a friendship interwoven with deceit and loyalty.
Ben Brown said of the production:
“I’m thrilled to be working again with Alan Strachan and Oliver Ford Davies and to be joining forces with Stephen Boxer, Sara Crowe and Alastair Whatley for the premiere, at last, of my new play, online prior to a national tour.”
Alastair Whatley, artistic director of Original Theatre Company, said: “I am thrilled that we are producing Ben’s fantastic new play with such a wonderful cast and creative team. The plan was to open this in front of audiences at the end of March, but alas, once again, plans have changed. Instead of cancelling, we will now film the production at the beautiful Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, releasing the play to our audiences around the world, before then returning to stages across the UK as soon as theatres reopen.”
A Splinter Of Ice is directed by Strachan with Whatley and designed by Michael Pavelka, with original music composed and sound designed by Max Pappenheim, lighting designed by Jason Taylor and casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG.
So far, in the last 10 months, Original has streamed to over 30,000 households with its productions of Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong Online, Louise Coulthard’s Watching Rosie, Torben Betts’ Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon and Philip Franks’ The Haunting of Alice Bowles, as well as the filmed productions of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art and Ali Milles’ The Croft. Original’s next online production will be the first revival of the Peter Barnes monologues, Barnes’ People, which will be available from 18 February.
Oliver Ford Davies is an Olivier Award-winning actor whose recent theatre includes Peter Gynt (National Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival), Troilus and Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Chalk Garden (Chichester Festival Theatre), Richard II (RSC, Barbican & BAM, New York), Henry IV Part II (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York), Henry V (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York) and Goodnight Mister Tom (Phoenix West End and Tour). He won Best Actor at the 1990 Olivier Awards for his performance in David Hare’s Racing Demon (National Theatre). Recent film and television credits include Christopher Robin, The Last Witness, Father Brown, Marple and Game of Thrones.
Stephen Boxer’s theatre credits include The Remains of the Day (UK Tour), Titus Andronicus, The Heresy of Love, The Taming Of The Shrew, Bartholomew Fair, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Herbal Bed, The White Devil, The Duchess Of Malfi, Richard III (all for the RSC), Macbeth, King Lear, Aristocrats, Volpone (all for the National Theatre), The Hypochondriac and A Chaste Maid In Cheapside (for Almeida Theatre). Recent television credits include Denis Thatcher in The Crown, Small Axe, David Elster in Humans and Poldark. He also played Rene Azaire in Original Theatre’s Birdsong.
Sara Crowe’s theatre credits include Tonight at 8:30 (Jermyn Street Theatre), Bedroom Farce (Duke of York’s), Acorn Antiques the Musical (UK Tour), The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy (Comedy Theatre), Calendar Girls (Noel Coward), Calendar Girls the Musical (UK Tour), Hay Fever (Albery Theatre) and Private Lives (Aldwych Theatre). Her film and television credits include Four Weddings & A Funeral, Carry on Columbus, the ghost story Martin’s Close written and directed by Mark Gatiss, EastEnders, Skins, Big Meg in Big Meg/Little Meg and various roles in The Harry Enfield Show, The Rory Bremner Show and Alas Smith and Jones.