Orlando James and Eve Ponsonby will take over the leading roles of Will Shakespeare and Viola De Lesseps in the acclaimed stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love in the new year.
Following in the footsteps of current stars Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen, the pair will lead Declan Donnellan’s joyful production as the love-struck pair at the Noël Coward Theatre from 12 January and will be joined by a host of fellow newcomers to the cast.
Adapted by Lee Hall from Tom Stoppard’s hugely successful film of the same name, Shakespeare In Love tells the story of a young Will Shakespeare who is suffering from writer’s block. With the deadline for his new play fast approaching, he is in desperate need of inspiration and finds a muse in the form of Viola. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece.
No strangers to falling in love under the direction of the renowned Donnellan, James and Ponsonby recently starred together in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore for Donnellan’s touring theatre company Cheek By Jowl.
James, whose other stage credits include the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Another Country, returns to the West End following his 2012 debut in The Madness Of George III, while Ponsonby’s credits include Longing at Hampstead Theatre and The Children’s Hour in the West End.
Joining the pair in the cast as the show’s other principle characters are Nicholas Asbury, Neal Barry, Richard Bremmer, Paul Brennen, Suzanne Burden, Ryan Donaldson, Edward Franklin, Ncuti Gatwa, Gregg Lowe, Andy McKeane, Peter Moreton, Joy Richardson, Charlie Tighe and Stuart Wilde.
Completing the production’s large ensemble are Aaron Anthony, Jonno Davies, Peter Hannah, Nick Hart, Joshua Higgott, Sioned Jones, Sandy Murray, Ellie Nunn, Thomas Padden, Stevie Raine, Elliot Rennie and Florence Roberts.
Most importantly, Barney will continue to win hearts as the all-important Spot the Dog.