Simon Callow is to play Sir Toby Belch in Peter Hall’s new production of Twelfth Night at the National Theatre early next year, staged in celebration of the esteemed director’s 80th birthday.
Callow joins the director’s daughter, Rebecca Hall, who was already confirmed as playing shipwrecked twin Viola in Shakespeare’s comedy of mistaken identity. The cast will now also include Amanda Drew as Olivia, Charles Edwards as Belch’s sidekick Andrew Aguecheek, Simon Paisley Day as Malvolio and Finty Williams as maid Maria. Ben Mansfield, Marton Csokas, Samuel James and David Ryall complete the line-up.
Callow is a hugely popular classical actor whose recent work includes the one-man shows Dr Marigold And Mr Chips and Shakespeare: The Man From Stratford, as well as Waiting For Godot alongside Ian McKellen in the West End last year. His vast career includes acting, writing and directing in stage, film and television. Films including Shakespeare In Love, Amadeus, Bright Young Things, Jefferson In Paris and Four Weddings And A Funeral have made him a household name, while his stage career has ranged from appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre to West End musicals (The Woman In White) and pantomime; he played Captain Hook at Richmond theatre in 2008.
Drew has been a prolific presence on the London stage of late. She will come to Twelfth Night shortly after appearing in House Of Games at the Almeida theatre this autumn. Her other recent stage credits include Enron at the Royal Court and Noël Coward theatre, Parlour Song at the Almeida, The Ugly One and Faces In The Crowd at the Royal Court and Otherwise Engaged in the West End.
Paisley Day, who plays the iconic role of pompous manservant Malvolio, has West End credits including The 39 Steps, Entertaining Mr Sloane and, most recently, Private Lives with Kim Cattrall at the Vaudeville theatre earlier this year.
Of the rest of the cast, Williams was recently seen in Hall’s production of Bedroom Farce which played at the Duke of York’s theatre earlier this year; Edwards appeared alongside Williams’s mother Judi Dench in the Rose Theatre Kingston’s recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and originated the role of Hannay in the West End production of The 39 Steps.
Exact dates for Twelfth Night have not yet been confirmed, but the production is scheduled to open at the National Theatre in January 2011.