English Touring Theatre presents the Royal Shakespeare Company production of
A MAD WORLD MY MASTERS
Tue 10 – Sat 14 Mar
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
London, Soho… 1956. Where glamour rubs up against filth, and likes it; where the posh mix with musicians, whores and racketeers; where ‘virginity is no city trade’, and where a dashingly impecunious bachelor in need of quick cash and a good time has to live on his wits.
Turning con-man to fool his rich uncle, he variously becomes a lord, a high class call girl, and – God forbid – a poor actor. But a beautiful Soho tart is also on the scam: a whore to some, a religious instructor to others, and a debutante in need of an eligible bachelor to yet more…
What an evening! Over 5oo made up the opening night audience to enjoy what director Sean Foley describes as;
“The filthiest play I’ve ever read.”
Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean classic is extremely raunchy and set in anything goes 1950’s Soho which was a decade ahead of the swinging sixties when it was all happening.
Ian Redford is particularly fine as Sir Bounteous Peersucker. All of Middleton’s characters have joke names stemming from an era when satire was the central form of protest-originally called Sir Bounteous Progress because when the King has a ‘progress’ he stayed with up and coming hosts anxious to show off their wealth in the hope of further social advancement- and Foley has modernised it to ‘Peersucker’. Likewise the Short-Rods have become the ‘Littledicks’.
Ishia Bennison as Mrs Kidman was very entertaining as she managed her daughter’s activities, Truly Kidman, played by Pearl Mackie.
The acting was first rate with some thrilling fight scenes which must of needed some hard work for them to go so smoothly considering the numbers involved-Fight Choreographer Alison de Burgh should be applauded.
An excellent evening’s entertainment full of excitement and great laughs.
Thomas Middleton (1580 – 1627) was an English Jacobean dramatist and poet. His principal works include Women Beware Women, The Changeling, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and The Revenger’s Tragedy.
Joe Bannister plays Dick Follywit. His theatre credits include The Witch of Edmonton, Arden of Faversham, The Roaring Girl, Titus Andronicus, A Mad World My Masters (RSC), Chariots of Fire (Gielgud Theatre), Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre), Bloody Poetry (Primavera Productions), The Lion in Winter (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Much Ado About Nothing (Cambridge Arts Theatre), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Cambridge American Stage Tour), Richard II, Empty Portrait (CUADC), Tory Boyz (National Youth Theatre).
Ellie Beavan plays Mrs Littledick. Her theatre work includes The 39 Steps (Fiery Angel), Candide, A Mad World My Masters, Titus Andronicus, Spring Awakening, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (RSC), Dangerous Corner, The Importance of Being Earnest (Salisbury Playhouse), Charley’s Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory), and Constance (Kings Head Theatre). For television, her credits include Endeavour, My Family, Popetown, Little Ghosts, Down to Earth, Wavelength, The Wild House, Streetwise and Capital City; and for film, Les Miserables, The Snow Queen’s Revenge, The Snow Queen and Buster.
Ben Deery plays Mr Littledick. His theatre work includes Titus Andronicus, King Lear (RSC), Private Lives, The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo and Juliet (Royal Lyceum Theatre), Most Savage and Unnatural (The Last Refuge), All Good Men (Finborough Theatre), The Woman In Black (Fortune Theatre), Anne Boleyn, All’s Well That Ends Well, Henry VIII (Shakespeare’s Globe), Dangerous Corner, Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds), and La Cage Aux Folles (Playhouse Theatre). For television, his work includes Call the Midwife, Father Brown, and Our World War; and for film Hero and Red Rain.
Dennis Herdman plays Penitent Brothel. For theatre, his work includes The Night of the Burning Pestle (Shakespeare’s Globe), Around the World in 80 Days (Royal Exchange), The Secret Agent (Young Vic), Around the World in 80 Days, Bleak House (The New Vic Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Told by an Idiot), Etherdrome (Penny Dreadful), Stones in his Pocket, A Chorus of Disapproval, The Memory of Water, For All Time, Our Country’s Good, The Recruiting Officer, Closer, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Season’s Greetings, Not a Game for Boys, Anorak of fire, Skylight (Theatre by the Lake Keswick), The Suicide, An Inspector Calls (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Carnival Messiah (Harewood House), and The Mysteries (Belgrade Theatre); and for television, Brum, City Central, Close up North, The Anorak.
Ian Redford plays Sir Bounteous Peersucker. For theatre his work includes Cinderella (First Family), Our Country’s Good, A Dish of Tea with Dr. Johnson, Rita Sue and Bob Too, A State Affair, Some Explicit Polaroids, Shopping and F**king (Out of Joint Theatre Company), The Golden Dragon, Baby Doll (Drum Theatre Plymouth), Brimstone and Treacle (Arcola Theatre), The Gate Keeper, A View from the Bridge, Antigone (Royal Exchange) Branded (Old Vic), The Permanent Way, A Laughing Matter, She Stoops To Conquer, Mother Clap’s Molly House, Free (National Theatre). For television, his work includes Party Animals, Animals, Coronation Street (series regular Keith Appleyard), Derailed, Missing, William and Mary, Regicide, The Prince and the Pauper, Trial by Fire, Second Sight, and One Foot in the Grave; and for film, Martha and Mary, The Legend of the Boogeyman, She Stoops to Conquer, Trial by Fire, Remains of the Day, Just like a Woman, Three Men and a Little Lady, Getting it Right.
Sarah Ridgeway plays Truly Kidman. Her theatre credits include Twelfth Night (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Candide, A Mad World My Masters, Titus Andronicus, Days of Significance (RSC), The Accrington Pals, You Can’t Take It With You (Royal Exchange), Sucker Punch (Royal Court), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe), A Taste of Honey (Salisbury Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (Northern Broadside); and for television The Making of a Lady, Dark Matters, Call The Midwife, Satisfaction, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, and Crimson Petal and the White.
Sean Foley is an award-winning actor, writer and director, and the only UK theatre creative to be Olivier nominated in all three categories. As a director, his theatre credits include The Walworth Farce (Olympia Theatre, Dublin), I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical (Palladium), Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Duke of York’s Theatre, Olivier Award for Best New Comedy), The Ladykillers (Liverpool Playhouse/Gielgud, five Oliver nominations, including Best Director, and WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Comedy), What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre), Ben Hur (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Change (also writer, Garrick Theatre), The Critic/Real Inspector Hound (co-director, Chichester Festival Theatre), Armstrong and Miller Live (tour), The Painkiller (also adapted, Lyric Theatre Belfast), Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress (Udderbelly, Edinburgh Festival and Leicester Square Theatre), and Pinter’s People (Theatre Royal Haymarket). As founder and co-Artistic Director of the The Right Size from 1989 – 2006, he originated, co-wrote and starred in a series of self-produced shows – Que Sera, The Bath, Flight To Finland, Moose, Penny Dreadful, Baldy Hopkins, Stop Calling Me Vernon, Hold Me Down, Do You Come Here Often? and Bewilderness. The company’s 1999 co-production with the Almeida Theatre of Mr Puntila And His Man Matti by Bertolt Brecht in a new version by Lee Hall played sold-out runs at the Traverse, Edinburgh, and the Almeida Theatre before transferring to the Albery Theatre. The company’s other productions included Do You Come Here Often? (Vaudeville Theatre, Olivier Award for Best Entertainment), The Play What I Wrote (Wyndham’s Theatre, Olivier Award for Best Comedy). He also co-wrote and starred in Ducktastic!, (Albery Theatre). As an actor, his other stage credits include The Play What I Wrote (Wyndham’s Theatre), Hysteria (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and I Am Shakespeare (Chichester Festival Theatre). His television work includes People Like Us, The Fitz, Wild West, Brass Eye, and Foley and McColl – This Way Up; and for film, his work includes Act Without Words. He voiced Reynard the Fox in The Harry Hill Movie.
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