Come up and see Cockney Rebel in Beckett

Published April 17, 2008

Steve Harley, front man of 70s rockers Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, is to appear in the West End premiere of two one-act Samuel Beckett plays at the Arts in July.

Rough For Theatre I & II, a duo of rarely performed tragi-comedies, features Harley and music producer-turned-actor Mike Bennett. The first play concerns a blind man who busks for money with his fiddle, and a wheelchair-bound man who is drawn to his playing. Rough For Theatre II is the tale of two bureaucrats, Bertrand and Morven, deciding on the fate of a suicidal man.

Harley, whose 1975 number one single Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) has been covered more than 100 times in seven languages, has appeared on stage in London before, starring as Christopher Marlowe in the musical Marlowe, which was also staged off-Broadway. He still tours with the band, appearing at the Isle of Wight festival in 2004, Glastonbury in 2005 and playing up to 100 concerts every year.

Bennett has produced many well-known bands and singers, including The Fall, The Specials, Alabama 3, Gregory Issacs and Ian Brown. As an actor, he has appeared as Tumnus in The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe at Sadler’s Wells and Autolicus in A Winter’s Tale at the Bloomsbury. He has also written material for Frankie Howerd and The Muppets, in addition to writing many plays and musicals, including Safety In Numbers at the Arts, Sharp Practice at Wimbledon and All Cloned Up at the King’s Head and the Bloomsbury.

The production will be directed by Gari Jones, who has directed productions at the National and the Almeida. Design is by Sara Perks, with lighting design by Linda Edwards.

Rough For Theatre I & II is at the Arts from 10-15 July.

JFC