The final casting for Peter Nichols’ dark comedy A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg has been announced today.
In a significant moment in the play’s history, the part of Joe Egg will be played by Storme Toolis, who herself has cerebral palsy. This is the first time in West End history that the part has been played by a disabled actor.
Storme has appeared on big and small screen alike, in BBC comedy crime drama New Tricks and in The Inbetweeners Movie. More recently, her work in theatre has seen her partnering with The Barbican and The RSC for Redefining Juliet, which proved so popular that it was filmed for a BBC documentary.
The play centres around couple Bri and Sheila and their 10-year-old disabled daughter Josephine, whom they nickname Joe Egg. The full-time care of their daughter has effected the two parents in different ways. As their relationship is placed under strain, the fantasies and games they play to cope become increasingly erratic.
Storme said of the role:
“I definitely feel that as a disabled actor there are interesting familiar relationships in this play, but I don’t draw a lot on my own experiences. Everybody is different, so my job is to portray Joe’s story. I’m interested in understanding how a family in an era that is not 2019 would deal with having a disabled child and whether what they would go through and what we go through now would be kind of similar.
“I was really interested in the attitudes that were so prevalent towards disabilities in the 1960’s, but the play touches on so many other things, not just disability. It’s about how you put one foot in front of the other every single day, whatever your Joe Egg might be. Everybody has something that makes their life a little bit more difficult and it’s about what you use to help you get through that point.”
Further casting has been announced with Clarence Smith (The Firm, RSC) as Freddie and Lucy Eaton (Daisy Pulls It Off, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Pam. They will join the previously announced cast of Toby Stephens (Oslo, Lost In Space), Claire Skinner (Outnumbered) and Patricia Hodge (Miranda, Downton Abbey). Other cast members include Athena Stevens (Scrounger, Redefining Juliet), Harry Attwell (Maleficent, Testament of Youth) and Rebecca Hands-Wicks (Monkey Bars, Portia’s Julius Caesar).
Producer Howard Panter said of the casting:
“Storme is a brilliant actor and we are delighted she is joining the company alongside Toby, Claire, Patricia, Lucy and Clarence. At a time when there is so much division and despair in this country, Joe Egg shows that if we find a way to care, we all eventually find redemption.”
Directed by Simon Evans, A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg will preview at Trafalgar Studios from 21 September. The funny, dark and heartwarming play is an incredible insight into Peter Nichols’ own experience of raising a disabled daughter and a bittersweet portrait of family life.