Stuke leads Rookery cast

Published March 13, 2009

Neil Stuke has been cast in Terry Johnson’s production of Rookery Nook at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 16 April, along with Edward Baker-Duly, Kellie Shirley, Lynda Baron, Mark Hadfield and Sarah Woodward.

Stuke plays the central role of Gerald Popkiss in Ben Travers’s period farce about a newly married man who finds himself in a compromising situation when he arrives in Rookery Nook to find a young girl in silk pyjamas on his doorstep.

Stuke may be best known for playing Matthew in BBC series Game On, though his many London stage credits include Boeing Boeing, A Night At The Dogs, Blue/Orange, The Bullet and Mojo.

Baker-Duly, who plays Clive Popkiss, was seen last year as Ashley in the musical Gone With The Wind at the New London theatre, and has previously appeared on stage in South Pacific, Salad Days, The Lady Vanishes, Singin’ In The Rain and Side By Side By Sondheim. He is also known for his roles in television’s Emmerdale and Grange Hill.

They are joined by Shirley, who plays the pyjama-clad Rhoda. The actress is best known for playing Carly Wicks in EastEnders, a role she left in January last year, before swiftly joining the cast of Baby Girl/DNA/The Miracle in the National Theatre’s New Connections programme. She has also appeared on stage at the Soho theatre and Royal Court.

Baron (Mrs Leverett) and Hadfield (Harold) are both highly experienced stage actors. Baron – who played Nurse Gladys in TV’s Open All Hours – has recently been seen in In Celebration at the Duke of York’s theatre and has previous West End credits including The Full Monty, Stepping Out and Follies. Hadfield was Laurence Olivier Award-nominated for Thérèse Raquin at the National Theatre and is a regular with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where his credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, which recently played at the Novello theatre, and The Canterbury Tales at the Gielgud theatre in 2006.

Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress Woodward (Gertrude) is a regular at Shakespeare’s Globe where her credits have included The Merry Wives Of Windsor, The Comedy Of Errors and Much Ado About Nothing. She has also worked at the National Theatre, Open Air and Donmar Warehouse.

The cast of Rookery Nook also includes Clare Wilkie (Clara), Nick Brimble (Putz) and Alan Thompson (Juddy).

Johnson’s production plays at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 20 June.

CB

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