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Democracy (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Democracy (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Old Vic transfers northern Democracy

Published 26 April 2012

Sheffield Theatres’ critically acclaimed production of Michael Frayn’s Democracy will transfer to the Old Vic theatre this summer.

First seen at the National Theatre in 2003 before playing as part of a Michael Frayn season at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre, Democracy will play from 15 June (press night 20 June) allowing audiences to see two Frayn productions in London this summer, with the Old Vic’s production of the playwright’s hit comedy Noises Off playing at the Novello theatre.

While described as a witty play, Democracy takes on a more serious theme than Noises Off, looking at the geopolitical ambitions of an inspirational politician and the forces in play around him, and exploring the Machiavellian nature of coalition government.

West German Chancellor Willy Brandt – one of the most charismatic leaders in post-war politics – makes history as he starts to reunite Europe; but he discovers things aren’t as straightforward as they seem when a spy is uncovered in his office and his plans are thrown into chaos.

Frayn described the Sheffield Theatres’ season of his work as “terrific”, adding: “I’m so pleased that at any rate one of them, Paul Miller’s Democracy, has found a London home – if only because I want to see it again myself. And a particular pleasure to have it at the Old Vic, still warm from their Noises Off.”

An ensemble cast including Andrew Bridgmont, David Cann, Patrick Drury, Richard Hope, William Hoyland, Ed Hughes, David Mallinson, Aidan McArdle, James Quinn and Rupert Vansittart will transfer with Miller’s production into the Southwark venue.

Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director of the Old Vic, said: “I am delighted that we are continuing our relationship with Michael Frayn following the great experience we’ve had together with Noises Off. Michael’s work is compelling and we’re excited now to work with Daniel Evans [Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres] to bring their terrific production of Democracy to a wider audience.”

A London double bill of Frayn work is timely, with autumn marking the start of the celebrated playwright’s eightieth year.


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