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The Shed at the National Theatre (photo Phillip Vile)

The Shed at the National Theatre

Ayckbourn announced for NT spring

Published 23 January 2014

Nigel Lindsay will star in Alan Ayckbourn’s riotous comedy A Small Family Business at the National Theatre this spring, while Howard Davies returns to the venue to direct Sean O’Casey’s anti-war Irish drama The Silver Tassie.

Playing in the Olivier Theatre from 1 April (press night 8 April), Lindsay will star as Jack McCracken in Ayckbourn’s exposure of entrepreneurial greed that first premiered at the venue in 1987.

Written during the height of Thatcherism, A Small Family Business tells the story of Jack’s journey from a man of principle to rampant self-interest and corruption with the discovery his extended family is no more than a group of thieves and adulterers.

Directed by Adam Penford, whose directing credits include Island at the NT and The Hostage at Southwark Playhouse, London stage regular Lindsay returns to the South Bank venue following roles in The Pillowman, The London Cuckolds, Blue Remembered Hills and Dealer’s Choice.

Currently appearing as Bolingbroke in the RSC’s Richard II, his varied career has seen the actor tackle a wide variety of genres, starring in everything from family hit Shrek The Musical to acclaimed new drama Sucker Punch.

The Four Lions star will be joined in the cast by Debra Gillett, Gawn Grainger, Amanda Hadingue, Amy Marston, Gerard Monaco, Samuel Taylor and Niky Wardley.

Playing alongside the comedy in the venue’s Lyttelton Theatre from 15 April (press night 23 April) is O’Casey’s rarely performed The Silver Tassie, which marks Olivier Award-winning director Davies’ return to the NT following numerous successful productions including Children Of The Sun, The Last Of The Haussmans and The White Guard.

Set in Ireland during World War One, The Silver Tassie tells the story of the dashing Harry Heegan, who leads his football team to victory, arriving home in swaggering celebration before he grabs his kit and heads for the trenches. Highlighting the horror and waste of war, the men, reduced to cannon-fodder, speak in mangled incantations as the casualties stack up. Months later, Harry returns, a cripple at the football club party where everyone but the shattered war veterans dance and forget.

Ronan Raftery, whose credits include the NT’s critically acclaimed Juno And The Paycock, will lead the cast as Harry, joined by London stage regular Aidan McArdle (School For Scandal, Barbican),  Adam Best (The Woman In Black), RSC regular Aidan Kelly, Stephen Kennedy, who was last seen on the London stage in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s To Kill A Mockingbird, and Deirdre Mullins (As You Like It, Shakespeare’s Globe).

Also announced today is the full cast for the revival of Shelagh Delaney’s iconic A Taste Of Honey. Joining the previously announced leading cast members Lesley Sharp and Kate O’Flynn are returning NT actors Eric Kofi Abrefa (The Amen Corner), Harry Hepple (Burnt By The Sun), Dean Lennox Kelly (Oh, What A Lovely War!), Mark Rose (Port) and Sarah Thom (The Adventures Of The Stoneheads), alongside Kate Adler, Greg Baxter and Miles Mitchell who will make their NT debuts when the production begins previews next month.

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