Kacey Ainsworth Leads Cast In James Fritz's LAVA
Fifth Word has announced the full cast for their forthcoming UK tour of Lava, the bold new writing company's latest production with co-producer Nottingham Playhouse. Kacey Ainsworth is most well known as long-running character Little Mo in Eastenders. More recently, the award-winning actress has starred in ITV's Grantchester and on stage as Mrs Lovett in the Liverpool Everyman's production of Sweeney Todd where she received rave reviews for her performance. Dan Parr more recently performed in Road at The Royal Court Theatre, London and at Leeds Playhouse's pop-up theatre.
A Scottish premiere has also been announced: Lava will be performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh from 10 - 12 June. Tickets are on sale from Thursday 5 March.
Lava focuses on the stages of grief and the ways we find to cope, exploring love, friendship and human connection. Written by James Fritz, the play is set in the aftermath of an unthinkable disaster which has struck London. In a small town far from the capital, a young man called Vin (Dan Parr) can no longer speak. Is it shock? Grief? Or something else? Lava considers what happens to those who can't express themselves in a world that celebrates self-expression, and looks at the lengths we will go to to make sense of our sadness.
While Vin's mum Vicky (Kacey Ainsworth) is struggling with a loss of her own, his friend Rach (Safiyya Ingar) is determined to help him find a way out of silence. But when Rach's family take in Jamie (Fred Fergus), a charismatic and articulate survivor of the asteroid disaster, who thinks talking - or even singing - about your suffering is the way to heal, Vin's plight is suddenly eclipsed.
Writer James Fritz said: "I love these characters to bits, and can't wait for more people to meet them. Lava's probably the most hopeful play I've worked on, and it feels like the right time to be doing it again. It's also a play that is in part about the complicated relationship between London, where I'm from, and the rest of the country. That relationship feels more under strain than it ever has been in my lifetime, which means that Lava is probably the play of mine that I'm most excited to take to all sorts of different places around the UK.
"During the initial run at the Nottingham Playhouse we got the sense that the story of Vin's silence meant very different things to different people, depending on who they were and what they'd been through. That's all you can ever ask as a playwright, I think, when a play that was written from a very personal place starts speaking to audiences in ways you could never have imagined. I can't wait to see how the response changes and grows as we take the story across the UK."
Fifth Word's Laura Ford and Angharad Jones said: "We first came across James's work when we saw Four Minutes Twelve Seconds. We immediately knew we wanted to work with James and commissioned him to write a new play for us in 2016.
"As joint artistic directors of Fifth Word, we commission work that tells the stories of people who often find themselves on the margins or struggle to be heard, and with Lava this is literally the case. Lava tells the story of Vin, a young man who stops talking in the wake of a catastrophic disaster, and who is struggling to make sense of his feelings in a world that feels out of control. At a time when conversations about how we reach out for help dominate headlines, this play feels more necessary than ever, asking questions around whether some people's grief or sadness has more legitimacy than others depending on their experiences.
"This play feels so right for now and sees a totally unique, silent central performance. At a time when the world often makes little sense, feels unpredictable and sometimes terrifying, but where there is also hope, resolve and a sense that anything is possible. At the very heart of this play is a story about love, friendship and an asteroid-shaped hole."
Fifth Word work to commission writers they believe will be part of the next mighty wave of playwrights leading the way in British Theatre. They currently have their most ambitious commissioning programme to date, working with Mufaro Makubika, Sophie Ellerby, Satinder Chohan, Sonali Bhattacharyya and Maureen Lennon; demonstrating their commitment to seeing more commissions and productions for female playwrights, regional playwrights and playwrights of colour.
The UK tour of Lava is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.
Salisbury Playhouse (Salberg Studio)
Malthouse Lane, Salisbury, SP2 7RA
Thursday 23 - Saturday 25 April 2020
7:45pm and 2:45pm matinee on 25 April | £13.50 (£9)
Box office: 01722 320 333 | www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk
Birmingham Rep Theatre (The Door)
Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EP
Tuesday 28 April - Saturday 2 May 2020
8pm | £15 (£10)
Box office: 0121 236 4455 | www.birmingham-rep.co.uk
Soho Theatre (main stage)
21 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3NE
Tuesday 5 - Saturday 16 May 2020
7:30pm and 2:30pm matinees on 9, 14 and 16 May | £10 - £24
Box office: 020 7478 0100 | www.sohotheatre.com
Theatre Royal Bath (Ustinov Studio)
Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Tuesday 19 - Wednesday 20 May 2020
8pm | £17.50 (£14) - on sale soon
Box office: 01225 448844 | www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Nottingham Playhouse (The Neville Studio)
Wellington Circus, Nottingham, NG1 5AF
Thursday 21 - Saturday 23 May 2020
7:45pm | £13 (£12)
Box office: 0115 941 9419 | www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk
Theatre Royal Plymouth (The Drum)
Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR
Tuesday 2 - Saturday 6 June 2020
7:45pm | £15 (£11)
Box office: 01752 267222 | https://theatreroyal.com/
Oxford Playhouse (Burton Taylor Studio)
11 - 12 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2LW
Tuesday 16 - Saturday 20 June 2020
7:30pm | £10 (£8)
Box office: 01865 305305 | www.oxfordplayhouse.com
*ON SALE: Friday 5 March 2020*
10 Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2ED
Wednesday 10 - Friday 12 June 2020
8pm | £15.00 (£12.00/£10.00) | £5 (other concession)
Box office: 0131 228 1404 | www.traverse.co.uk