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Exclusive: New St James season revealed

First Published 8 October 2014, Last Updated 9 October 2014

Biting comedy Bad Jews and Ruby Wax’s one-woman show Sane New World will join the previously announced The Three Lions in the St James Theatre spring season, Official London Theatre can exclusively announce.

The UK premiere of Bad Jews (15 January to 28 February), which ran at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio earlier this year, is the tale of a family squabbling over a treasured family heirloom with religious significance. In a cramped Manhattan apartment religious fanatic Daphna, wealthy cousin Liam and his non-Jewish girlfriend, and his confrontation-avoiding brother Jonah get drawn into a family fight the night after their grandfather’s funeral.

Speaking to us on the eve of the new season announcement Robert Mackintosh, Creative Director and Executive Producer of the St James Theatre, told us the production is a piece that “touches on the deep things that lurk beneath the skin. It’s great when you can get a play that has the guts to get in there and bring it all out.”

The transfer will feature the cast from the Bath production, including Jenna Augen who recently received a UK Theatre Award nomination for her performance as Daphna, Gina Bramhill, Joe Coen and Illan Goodman.

Wax’s Sane New World (2 to 14 March), based on her best-selling book of the same name, uses knowledge from her Master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to explore why we sabotage our own sanity and offers advice for how to survive the 21st century. “It’s extraordinarily funny,” said Mackintosh. “It’s a remarkable stand-up show that we’re going to be very proud to be associated with.”

Following Sane New World, The Three Lions, which was announced yesterday, completes the season, running from 24 March to 2 May. The tale of David Beckham, David Cameron and Prince William, “a good solid comedy that I think the audience is going to absolutely love,” was previously a hit at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival.

Speaking about the spring shows, Mackintosh said “I’m very excited about the new season. I’ve seen two of these shows and I think it’s important, when you’re running this sort of theatre, to put your money where your mouth is; if you really enjoy it there’s a good chance that other people will too.”

When the St James Theatre, which receives no Arts Council subsidy, was launched in 2012 it was imperative that every aspect of the custom-built venue, from the brasserie to the filming facilities, pulled its weight to make the theatre a financial success. Two years on, Mackintosh confirms “We’ve found our formulas now, which does enable us to put on really good quality shows. The better quality shows we have, the more business we attract, and because we get bigger audiences we pass that point where we’re biting our nails waiting to see whether ends meet.”

The new season runs following the current One Stage Season, which includes the current production of Uncle Vanya and the upcoming revival of Accolade, and a Christmas season that features Morecambe And Wise comedy Eric And Little Ern and children’s tale The Snow Dragon.

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