Terry Johnson, whose production of La Cage Aux Folles was named Best Musical Revival in Sunday night’s Laurence Olivier Awards, is to return to the Menier Chocolate Factory this spring to direct Ben Travers’s farce Rookery Nook, which plays from 16 April to 20 June (press night 29 April).
A comedy of manners which premiered in London in 1926, Travers’s play centres on newly married playboy Gerald Popkiss, who is on the way to Rookery Nook with his new wife Clara and his mother-in-law. Forced to travel on alone when his mother-in-law suddenly falls sick, Gerald arrives to find quite a commotion. A beautiful young girl has been thrown out of the house next door in nothing but her silk pyjamas and begs him to let her stay. Gerald must find the young girl some clothes and, until then, keep her hidden from his sister-in-law Gertrude, who lives nearby, and Rookery Nook’s meddling maid, Mrs Leverett.
Johnson’s first directorial outing at the Menier Chocolate Factory was La Cage Aux Folles, which premiered there in late 2007 before transferring to the Playhouse theatre in October last year. Nominated for seven Laurence Olivier Awards – including Best Director – it came away from yesterday’s ceremony with two awards, including Best Musical Revival.
Johnson’s numerous other directorial credits include the recent production of Rain Man, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Hitchcock Blonde, Dead Funny and Cleo, Camping Emmanuelle And Dick.
British playwright Travers’s career, which spanned six decades, included the plays Plunder, A Cup Of Kindness, Spotted Dick, Thark and his final work, The Bed Before Yesterday, written when he was 89 years old. Rookery Nook received a big screen adaptation in 1930 and was produced for television in 1970.
Rookery Nook opens at the Menier Chocolate Factory following short seasons for comedians Phil Nichol (12 to 20 March) and Charles Fleischer (24 March to 11 April).