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The Shed at the National Theatre (photo Phillip Vile)

The Shed at the National Theatre

Sharp brings Taste Of Honey to NT

Published 11 November 2013

Lesley Sharp and Kate O’Flynn will star in a revival of Shelagh Delaney’s pivotal 1950s drama A Taste Of Honey at the National Theatre next year.

Directed by Bijan Sheibani, whose festive offering Emil And The Detectives opens at the Southbank venue later this week, Delaney’s defining piece celebrating the vulnerability and strengths of the female spirit will play from 10 February (press night 18 February) in the venue’s Lyttelton theatre.

Sharp, who last appeared at the National Theatre in Harper Regan and is a familiar face on screen for leading roles in numerous series including Scott And Bailey, The Shadow Line and Starlings, will play Helen, with rising star O’Flynn (Port at the National Theatre, the Royal Court’s The Ritual Slaughter Of Gorge Mastromas) as her headstrong daughter Jo.

Famously written by Delaney when she was just 19, the playwright’s depiction of working-class life in post-war Salford was declared ground breaking when it premiered in 1958, telling the then daring story of teenager Jo, whose relationship with a black sailor leads to single parenthood. The drama charts the turbulent events when art student Geoff moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent before inviting Jo’s absent mother Helen back into the fold with disastrous consequences.

Also announced by the venue today is full casting for Sam Mendes’ highly-anticipated production of Shakespeare’s epic King Lear and details of The Shed’s forthcoming season.

Joining Simon Russell Beale and other previously announced leads Kate Fleetwood, Anna Maxwell Martin, Olivia Vinall, Adrian Scarborough and Stanley Townsend in Mendes’ January production, are Royal Shakespeare Company and London theatre regulars Stephen Boxer and Sam Troughton, who returns to the NT after a near ten year gap following 2004’s Buried Child, playing Gloucester and Edmund respectively. Completing the lead casting is The Ritual Slaughter Of Gorge Mastromas star Tom Brooke as Edgar, which follows his 2011 NT debut in The Kitchen.

Completing the high-profile company are Cassie Bradley, Richard Clothier, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Simon Manyonda, Daniel Millar, Michael Nardone, Gary Powell, Hannah Stokely and Ross Waiton.

From the National Theatre’s now well-known pop-up space The Shed comes news of Carrie Cracknell and Constellations’ playwright Nick Payne’s previously announced song-filled collaboration Blurred Lines. Playing from 16 January (press night 22 January) to 22 February, the pair has revealed the show will be a “blistering journey through the minefield of contemporary gender politics” and boast a stellar – so far all-female – cast of National Theatre regulars.

Outnumbered star Claire Skinner, whose credits at the NT include Mrs Affleck, The Winter’s Tale and Othello, will be joined by Olivier Award nominee Bryony Hannah (Earthquakes In London, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, War Horse), Marion Bailey (Grief), Michaela Coel (Home), Sinéad Matthews (Our Class, The Mandate), Ruth Sheen (Market Boy, Stoning Mary) and Susannah Wise (The Holy Rosenbergs, Sanctuary, The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie).

The Bunny Christie-designed production will be followed by storytelling favourite Daniel Kitson’s new show. Playing 12 performances in rep from 25 February to 20 March, Analog.Ue revolves around a pre-recorded story and a single cassette player, and marks the unique performer’s return to the venue following the huge sell-out success for It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later.

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