Meera Syal is to lead the cast of dark comedy The Killing Of Sister George at the Arts theatre from 5 to 29 October (press night 7 October).
In this revival of Frank Marcus’s 1965 drama Syal plays the eponymous Sister George, a sweet and cheerful nurse in a popular rural radio soap. But in the real world, away from the country lanes and kingly ways of her fictional character, she is a cruel, self-centred and manipulative alcoholic, who torments and humiliates her live-in companion Childie. When it is announced that Sister George is to be killed off in the soap, the actress’s life begins to spiral out of control.
The play, which originally starred Beryl Reid and Eileen Atkins, was made into a film in 1968, with Reid reprising her role alongside Susannah York.
Syal is best known for her television work in comedies Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars At Number 42 and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee. However in the last few years she has displayed her talents on stage, appearing in Rafta Rafta at the National Theatre and in one-woman play Shirley Valentine at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Trafalgar Studios.
Syal is joined in The Killing Of Sister George by relative newcomer Elizabeth Cadwallader as Childie, along with experienced actors Belinda Lang and Helen Lederer.
Though still remembered for her role in long-running sitcom 2 Point 4 Children, Lang has a huge body of stage work, including London productions of Liberty, Hay Fever, Forgotten Voices, What The Butler Saw, Dead Funny and Hobson’s Choice, as well as numerous touring shows. Lederer is best known for her work on sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, while her stage appearances include Calendar Girls and Grumpy Old Women.
The Killing Of Sister George is directed by Iqbal Khan, whose production of Broken Glass at the Tricycle theatre transfers to the West End next month. His credits also include A Slight Ache and Landscape at the National Theatre.