Belgrade to Present THE ALCHEMIST, 1-22 Feb

Belgrade to Present THE ALCHEMIST, 1-22 Feb

Ben Jonson's The Alchemist is given a new lease of life in a co-production between the Belgrade Theatre and Riding Lights Theatre Company, which transposes the corruption and crookery of this classic comedy from 17th century London to modern day Coventry.

Running in the Belgrade's B2 auditorium from Sat 1 to Sat 22 Feb, The Alchemist tells the story of a trio of undesirable criminals and con artists who prey on the weaknesses of the local citizens by offering a range of alternative services, from the secret of eternal youth, to that recipe of recipes which will turn a tin can into bankable gold.

This new adaptation will be directed by Riding Lights' Artistic Director Paul Burbridge, who said, "In contrast to many other plays from the Shakespearian age, there's a specific urban reality to The Alchemist which takes a little adjusting to make it feel modern. The 'now' factor of the play is intensified by a sense of the local 'Neighbourhood Watch' - with everyone enjoying the jokes and the references to pubs, streets and businesses which they might have been in only yesterday. So the production and the text will combine a sense of place in Coventry with characters and events which have hit our current national headlines."

The cast of The Alchemist includes Tom Peters whose stage credits include Strange Interlude and Scenes from an Execution at the National Theatre and Dancing at Lughnasa at the Old Vic and Kolade Agboke, whose stage credits include Tamburlaine the Great at Bristol Old Vic. He also featured in Danny Boyle's film Millions, alongside James Nesbitt.

Also in the cast is Sarah Jane Lee, who in addition to appearing in On The Shore of The Wide World at Manchester's Royal Exchange and The Passion and A Different Drum for Riding Lights, is also Associate Practitioner/Storyteller for the RSC. Joining them is John Holden-White, who has also worked with Riding Lights on productions including A Different Drum and The Narrow Road.

Barrett Robertson returns to the Belgrade after performing in its poetry in performance show Being Human, which was produced in association with Midlands Creative Projects. Completing the cast is Zannah Hodson, whose credits include An Ideal Husband at Royal Exchange, Manchester, Andrew Harrison, who appeared in Serious Money and A Chorus of Disapproval at Exeter's Northcott and Alan Francis.

Sean Cavanagh, who designed the set for the Belgrade's musical The Prodigals, has designed the set and costumes for The Alchemist. Lighting design is by Mark Doubleday and Sound Design is by Jonathan Bidgood.

Paul Burbridge's previous directorial work for Riding Lights include African Snow, which was a co-production with York Theatre Royal that marked the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. After opening in York it transferred to the West End and embarked on a national tour. Other work includes his own adaptation of Three Men in a Boat for The Northcott Theatre and Theatr Clywd and The Fire Raisers for The Northcott Theatre and The Bridewell, where it was Time Out's Critics' Choice.

Tickets for The Alchemist are available now from the Belgrade's Box Office on 024 7655 3055 priced from £8.75 to £20.75 or via www.belgrade.co.uk where cheaper tickets are available.

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