Out of Joint & Octagon Theatre Bolton's THIS MAY HURT A BIT Begins UK Tour Today
Max Stafford-Clark's production of Stella Feehily's new NHS play THIS MAY HURT A BIT explores the UK's best-loved and most fiercely debated institution. The production will star acclaimed actress Stephanie Cole (OPEN ALL HOURS BBC, CORONATION STREET ITV, WAITING FOR GOD BBC and PYGMALION at the Chichester Festival Theatre) as Iris - a witty, feisty and independent elderly woman whose socialist values were forged in a kinder age. An unswerving champion of the NHS, she finds herself unexpectedly in its care.
Further casting includes brother and sister, Jane Wymark as Mariel/The NHS and Tristram Wymark as Winston Churchill/Mr Weaver, both best known for their roles on the ITV drama MIDSOMER MURDERS. Joining them will be Brian Protheroe (LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, Octagon Theatre Bolton), Frances Ashman (PEOPLE, NT), and Natalie Klamar (ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, RSC).
The production is directed by Out of Joint Artistic Director Max Stafford-Clark, whose experience of a major stroke in 2006, plus years of subsequent treatment, prompted playwright Stella Feehily (Max's wife) to research and write the play.
A month after stating "we will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS that has got in the way of patient care", the government launched the biggest top-down reorganisation the service had seen in its 65-year history. Stella Feehily's new play explores one family's journey through the digestive system of the NHS, and asks: what is the prognosis?
Stephanie Cole is a highly respected actress with a long career on stage, television, radio and film. She is best known her television work, including the recent Christmas special STILL OPEN ALL HOURS (BBC), as Sylvia Goodwin in CORONATION STREET (ITV), Diana Trent in the classic comedy series WAITING FOR GOD (BBC) and Dr. Beatrice Mason in TENKO (BBC). Her stage credits include PYGMALION and SEPARATE TABLES (Chichester Festival Theatre), BORN IN THE GARDEN (Theatre Royal, Bath), BLYTHE SPIRIT (West End) and NOISES OFF (West End).
Stella Feehily's previous plays for Out of Joint include DUCK, O GO MY MAN, DREAMS OF VIOLENCE, and her most recent, BANG BANG BANG, an adventure about two human rights defenders in Congo which packed out the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs. THIS MAY HURT A BIT will be designed by Tim Shortall, who designed Out of Joint's recent productions of OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD and the West End-transferring TOP GIRLS.
Karl Sydow presents performances of THIS MAY HURT A BIT at the London St. James Theatre. Karl has recently presented Out of Joint's productions of OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD and A DISH OF TEA WITH DR JOHNSON into the West End.
This production is supported by Frank and Elizabeth Brenan.
Th tour will begin today 6 March at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds (www.theatreroyal.org).
Press Night for the UK Tour is Wednesday 26 March 2014 at the Octagon Theatre Bolton (www.octagonbolton.co.uk). Press Night for its run at the St. James Theatre will be Monday 19 May 2014 at 7.30pm (www.stjamestheatre.co.uk).
Photo Credit: BWW-Staff