Northern Broadsides Presents THE GRAND GESTURE Tonight
Following the critical success of last year's A GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, Northern Broadsides' associate director Conrad Nelson and playwright Deborah McAndrew once again team up, this time bringing their brand of Northern inventiveness and humour to Nikolai Erdman's dark comic classic The Suicide. Courtesy of Nelson and McAndrew The Suicide becomes THE GRAND GESTURE in a sharp new adaptation that updates it from 1920s Russia to 21st Century Britain.
Simeon Duff is unemployed, broke and desperate. After a failed last-ditch attempt to solve his problems by learning to play the tuba, he finally realizes there's only one way out...a suicide.
Word gets around and soon the whole community wants to be in on his act. The death of Duff might not be in vain, but transformed into a grand gesture on behalf of some noble cause. Will it be for love, politics, religion - or the rising price of fish?
Set within the North's Anglo-Irish community, and told with a beguiling musical blend of Irish folk and heavenly choir, this brilliant satire is the perfect answer to a long autumn evening in Austerity Britain.
Playwright Deborah McAndrew said, "I only came across this play quite recently and it struck me immediately as something a bit special. The particular context is very Russian - very Soviet, in fact - as are many of the jokes, but pared back to the basic circumstances it becomes universal.
"For me the big universal idea is that of the individual human being as a commodity - something I think we see a great deal of in our society today. It seems like a very macabre subject, and the comedy is very black at times, but ultimately it affirms both the dignity and worth of every human life, and the collective responsibility we have for each other."
The GRAND GESTURE's excellent cast includes Michael Hugo (Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Northern Broadsides) as Simeon Duff; Hester Arden (Loves Labour's Lost, Northern Broadsides) as Rosie Philpot; Angela Bain (A Man of No Importance, Salisbury Playhouse) as Sadie; Paul Barnhill (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Regents Park) as George Timms; Sophia Hatfield (Loves Labour's Lost, Northern Broadsides) as Chloe MacSween; Alan McMahon (Canterbury Tales, Northern Broadsides) as Father McCloud; Dyfrig Morris (As you Like It, Clwyd Theatr Cymru) as Nicholas Pugh; Rob Pickavance (Wind in the Willows, Birmingham Rep) as Victor Stark; Samantha Robinson (The Phoenix of Madrid, Theatre Royal, Bath) as Mary Duff; Howard Chadwick (A Government Inspector, Northern Broadsides) as Al Bush and Claire Storey ( The Good Teacher, Nottingham Playhouse) as Maggie Johnson.
The production is designed by Dawn Allsopp (A Government Inspector, Northern Broadsides), with lighting by Mark Howland (Yerma, Gate Theatre) and will feature new music and lyrics written byConrad Nelson.
Northern Broadsides, who are currently touring the acclaimed revival of Githa Sowerby's RUTHERFORD & SON at the St James Theatre, is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Its work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic northern actors who all perform in their natural voices. For the past 21 years, it has delighted audiences here and abroad with a growing classic repertoire that has won the company many awards and a loyal following worldwide.
THE GRAND GESTURE will open at HarroGate Theatre on 6 September and then tours to Winchester, Cheltenham, Lancaster, Scarborough, Huddersfield, Stoke, Liverpool and Halifax.
For more info visit www.northern-broadsides.co.uk