Billie Piper will star as an ambitious tabloid editor in a timely new satire by Richard Bean entitled Great Britain, which, in a surprising twist, will open on Monday in the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre.
The last minute announcement comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s phone hacking scandal news, when former News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges.
Bean’s topical play will centre on this ruthless, tabloid world with Piper starring in the “anarchic satire about the press, the police and the political establishment” as Paige Britain, the editor of The Free Press, a tabloid newspaper locked in a never-ending battle for more readers.
Directed by the theatre’s Director Nicholas Hytner, the Olivier Award-winning actor’s role follows theatre credits including The Effect at the NT and Reasons To Be Pretty at the Almeida Theatre.
Piper, who will be best known to many for her numerous television appearances in series including Doctor Who, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and Penny Dreadful, will be joined by an impressive supporting company including fellow Olivier Award nominee Oliver Chris, who starred in Bean’s hugely successful One Man, Two Guvnors, and Wicked star Harriet Thorpe.
William Chubb, Scott Karim, Nick Sampson and Joseph Wilkins return to the NT following their roles in Hytner’s critically acclaimed Othello, alongside fellow NT returning performers Sarah Annis (Collaborators), Dermot Crowley (Stuff Happens, Scenes From The Big Picture), Jo Dockery (Timon Of Athens, Antigone), Robert Glenister (Never So Good), Ian Hallard (Scenes From An Execution), Barbara Kirby (Emil And The Detectives, People), Nicholas Lumley (The Pitmen Painters, The Magistrate), Maggie McCarthy (Children Of The Sun, Cocktail Sticks), Iain Mitchell (Stuff Happens, His Dark Materials), Miles Mitchell (A Taste Of Honey), Aaron Neil (England People Very Nice), Kellie Shirley (One Man, Two Guvnors), Rupert Vansittart (This House) and Andrew Woodall (Women Beware Women).
Completing the cast in their NT debuts are Ross Boatman, who was last seen at the Trafalgar Studios in Dealer’s Choice, Emmerdale’s Robert Calvert, Life’s Too Short’s Kiruna Stamell and James Harkness, who makes his professional stage debut in the production.
Great Britain, which will face the press on Monday at its first performance, will run until 23 August. Theatre fans keen to snap up tickets can book for the first two weeks of the run now, with tickets for performances from 12 July on sale later this week.