RUDY'S RARE RECORDS to Premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 4-20 Sept
Based on the successful BBC Radio 4 series, written by Danny Robins and which Henry co-created as well as starred in, Rudy's Rare Records is a funny and touching comedy set in an old reggae record shop in Birmingham.
Owned by the irrepressible Rudy Sharpe (Larrington Walker), reluctantly helped out by his long-suffering son Adam (Lenny Henry), the shop is stacked with vinyl. With Rudy's chaotic approach of "if it ain't on the shelf, it's on the floor" clashing with Adam's need for calm and order, the record shop becomes a battleground of bickering, snickering, breaking-up and making-up played out to the shop's foot-tapping soundtrack. However, when the threat of developers looms, father and son must put their differences aside as they battle to keep the music alive. Featuring music by Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley and the Sugarhill Gang - all played live by an onstage band.
Lenny Henry is one of the country's best-loved personalities and foremost talents and has established himself as a formidable actor. He won the Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award for his portrayal of Othello for Northern Broadsides and completed an acclaimed tour and West End season in August Wilson's award-winning Fences. On screen Lenny Henry's popular characters include Brixton's favourite wide-boy Delbert Wilkins to the one-man 'sex machine' Theophilus P Wildebeeste and the Guinness supping Grandpa Deakus.
Joining Lenny Henry in the cast is Larrington Walker (Rudy) who has been in all four BBC series of Rudy's Rare Records. His stage credits include many seasons with the RSC including New York residencies. Joivan Wade (Richie) is best-known as Failia in the cult E4 series Youngers. He trained at the Brit School and was a member of the National Youth Theatre. Joivan is a co-writer and star of the critically acclaimed online comedy series Mandem On The Wall.
Jeffery Kissoon (Clifton) works regularly with the RSC. His recent credits include Caesar in the RSC's all-black cast production of Julius Caesar and Talawa Theatre's Waiting For Godot. He performed opposite Kim Cattrall in Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool Everyman and was an Associate Artist at Birmingham Repertory Theatre during the nineties playing leading roles in Othello, Macbeth and The Tempest. The cast also includes Lorna Gayle, Natasha Godfrey and Tendayi Jembere.
Danny Robins has written widely for TV and Radio. He created the award-winning CBBC series Young Dracula and co-created and wrote the cult BBC 2 series We Are History. He has written for Armando Iannucci, Joan Rivers, Ronnie Barker and even Basil Brush. For radio he has been responsible for the Sony Award-nominated The Museum of Everything, Paperback Hell and of course Rudy's Rare Records as well as working on such hits as Dead Ringers and Parsons and Naylor. His new Radio 4 sitcom The Cold Swedish Winter will be broadcast later this year.
Rudy's Rare Records is directed by Paulette Randall with musical direction by Joseph Roberts, design by Libby Watson and lighting design by Mark Jonathan. Following its premiere in Birmingham Rudy's Rare Record's will run at Hackney Empire from 24 Sept - 5 Oct.