Jodie Prenger Stars In The National Theatre's Production Of A TASTE OF HONEY At The Marlowe Theatre
Written when she was just 19, Shelagh Delaney's remarkable taboo-breaking 1950s play offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived and restless world.
When her mother Helen runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with Jimmy, a sailor who promises to marry her, before he heads for the seas leaving her pregnant and alone. Art student Geoff moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until, misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.
Jodie plays Helen. She is joined by Gemma Dobson as Jo, Durone Stokes as Jimmie, Stuart Thompson as Geoffrey and Tom Varey as Peter. Understudies are Liam Bessell, Katy Clayton, Claire Eden and Marcel White.
Jodie's work includes One Man, Two Guvnors (for The National Theatre in the West End), Nancy in Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre and UK tour); Calamity Jane in Calamity Jane (UK tour); Tell Me On A Sunday (UK tour); Miss Hannigan in Annie (New Theatre, Oxford); Shirley in Shirley Valentine (UK tour); Kelly in Fat Friends The Musical (UK tour) and Beverly in Abigail's Party (UK tour). Television includes Years And Years, Citizen Khan, Wizards vs Aliens, Candy Cabs and Waterloo Road. She won the Theatregoers' Choice What's On Stage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
Gemma's work in theatre includes Rita, Sue And Bob Too for Out of Joint at the Royal Court and on tour (including The Marlowe), and Plenty at Chichester Festival Theatre. Television includes In The Club, Brief Encounters and Care. Durone's theatre credits include Dream Girls in the West End and Grand Hotel at Southwark Playhouse. Stuart trained at LAMDA and A Taste Of Honey will be his professional stage debut. Tom's theatre credits include Deathwatch at the Print Room, One Arm at Southwark Playhouse and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Liverpool Everyman. Television includes No Offence, Ackley Bridge, Game Of Thrones, Dark Angel and The Village. Film includes Pond Life.
Shelagh Delaney wrote A Taste Of Honey, her first play, in 10 days after seeing Terence Rattigan's Variation Of A Theme in Manchester. She sent the script to Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop and the play opened at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, in 1958 before transferring to the West End.
It was later made into a feature film with Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan and Murray Melvin and the Broadway transfer featured Joan Plowright and Angela Lansbury. Sheila's other work includes The Lion In Love. For television, she wrote The House That Jack Built and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Bijan Sheibani is an award-winning theatre and opera director. His work for The National Theatre includes Barber Shop Chronicles, A Taste Of Honey, Emil And The Detectives, The Kitchen, and Our Class (Olivier Nomination for Best Director). Other theatre includes Dance Nation and The House of Bernarda Alba (Almeida Theatre); Circle Mirror Transformation (Home, Manchester); The Brothers Size (Young Vic, Olivier Nomination); Giving (Hampstead Theatre); Moonlight (Donmar Warehouse); Gone Too Far (Royal Court Theatre, Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre). He was artistic director of Actors Touring Company from 2007 to 2010, and an associate director at The National Theatre from 2010 to 2015.
A Taste Of Honey is at The Marlowe Theatre from Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 October, with performances at 7.30pm and 2.30pm (Thursday and Saturday). For tickets, call the Box Office on 01227 787787, or go to marlowetheatre.com. See the website for details of the accessible performances.