The Menier Chocolate Factory is to follow the light-hearted musical They’re Playing Our Song with its first foray into Jacobean tragedy. The venue’s production of John Webster’s The White Devil plays from 3 October to 15 November (press night 8 October).
Based on actual events, The White Devil is a haunting and brutal play which centres on the explosive repercussions of an adulterous love affair between Brachiano and Vittoria. As the result of their actions, a series of shattering events are set in motion that lead to betrayal and murder, exposing the duplicity and hypocrisy within Italian court life and the church.
The White Devil and the later play The Duchess Of Malfi are the two major works by Jacobean playwright Webster, both of which display the bleak and disturbing view of human nature for which he became known.
The cast of this new production includes Claire Price as Vittoria, Darrell D’Silva as Brachiano and Aidan McArdle as Flamineo. All three actors have previously worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In London, Price appeared in the acclaimed production of Don Carlos at the Gielgud in 2005 and Brand at the Haymarket; D’Silva’s London stage credits include Royal Hunt Of The Sun and The Rose Tattoo at the National Theatre; McArdle was Laurence Olivier Award nominated for The Shadow Of A Gunman at the Tricycle in 2005, played the title role in A Prayer For Owen Meany at the National in 2002, and has been seen on screen in Not Only But Always and the recent film The Duchess.
The cast also includes Ross Armstrong, Dylan Charles, Claire Cox, John Dougall, Christopher Godwin, Louis Hilyer, Golda Rosheuvel, Nitzan Sharron and Sandra Voe.
They are directed by Jonathan Munby, whose recent London credits include the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Canterbury Tales at the Gielgud (as co-director) and this season’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The White Devil is something of a departure for the Menier Chocolate Factory, which has scored a number of hits with musical productions in recent years, including the multi-award-winning Sunday In The Park With George, Little Shop Of Horrors, which transferred to the West End, and La Cage Aux Folles, which is set to do the same this autumn. The current show, They’re Playing Our Song, which stars Connie Fisher and Alistair McGowan, ends its run on 28 September.