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Russell Bentley, Matthew Marsh, et al. Cast in HIS GREATNESS, Opening April 27 at Finborough Theatre

A European premiere from one of Canada's pre-eminent playwrights, Daniel MacIvor, His Greatness opens at the Finborough Theatre on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 (Press Night: Friday, 27 April 2012 at 7.30pm) for a four week limited season.  Directed by Che Walker, the cast includes Russell Bentley, Matthew Marsh and Toby Wharton.

Inspired by a ‘potentially true story’ during the declining days of Tennessee Williams, His Greatness is an intimate insight into the mind of a familiar public figure, grappling with the loss of former glory and desperate for a return to form and success.

Three men; a great American playwright, his trusted and loyal assistant, and a young Canadian street hustler find themselves together for two days in a hotel room in Vancouver. The ensuing battle for power, love and loyalty is frequently funny, engagingly dark and ultimately moving. This is the story of living with greatness and the pain of its inexorable decline.

Celebrated Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor has written and directed numerous award–winning productions including See Bob Run, Wild Abandon, 2-2-Tango, This Is A Play, The Soldier Dreams, You Are Here, How It Works and A Beautiful View. With long time collaborator Daniel Brooks, he created the solo performances House, Here Lies Henry, Monster and Cul-de-sac. Daniel’s play Never Swim Alone won the award for overall excellence at the New York Fringe in 1998 and, in 2002, he won a GLAAD Award and a Village Voice Obie Award for In On It, which was presented at PS122. His play Marion Bridge received its off-Broadway premiere in New York in 2005. From 1987-2007, with producing partner Sherrie Johnson, he ran Da Da Kamera, a respected interNational Theatre touring company that has brought his work to Australia, Israel, Europe, the UK, and extensively throughout Canada and the US. In 2007, His Greatness was critically lauded in its premiere production at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver and has subsequently been seen in New York City in a sell-out production. Both House and See Bob Run have been produced at the Finborough Theatre, while His Greatness received a staged reading at the Finborough Theatre in April 2010 to complement its London premiere production of Tennessee Williams' The Notebook of Trigorin.

Director Ché Walker returns to the Finborough Theatre where he made his directorial debut with Achidi J’s Final Hours in 2004, and where he has directed three other critically acclaimed sell-out productions – Etta Jenks, starring Daniela Nardini and Clarke Peters (2005), Blue Surge (2011) and Fog (2012). Other Theatre includes Been So Long (Young Vic and English Touring Theatre), Extended Family (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Glory of Living (BAC), Estate Walls, Little Baby Jesus (Oval House), Lovesong (English Touring Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe), Car Thieves (National Theatre Studio) and Dance for Me (Tricycle Theatre). Ché's writing includes Been So Long (The Young Vic and Royal Court Theatre), The Frontline (Shakespeare's Globe), Iphigenia (Southwark Playhouse), Flesh Wound (Royal Court Theatre), Crazy Love (Paines Plough), Car Thieves (National Theatre Studio), Carmen (Open Air Theatre), Dance For Me (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Rootz Spectacular (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry). He is also writing the book for The Eighth, a new musical with music and lyrics by Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South for this year's Manchester International Festival as well as writing his own musical adaptation of The Bacchae with Arthur Darvill for English Touring Theatre. This year, Ché will direct the feature film adaptation of his original musical, Been So Long from his own screenplay for Greenacre Films/UKFC and is also developing an original television series with the BBC.

Designer Jean-Marc Puissant designs sets and costumes for opera, theatre and dance, and his work has been seen across the UK, Europe and the USA. He trained at Motley Theatre Design Course and studied Art History at La Sorbonne. Designs for Opera include Madama Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera), Aida (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Valencia and Oslo) and A Night at the Chinese Opera for which he received aTMA Award nomination (Scottish Opera). Designs for theatre include Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory) and All My Sons for (The Curve, Leicester). Designs for The Royal Ballet include Jewels – (Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production, and The South Bank Show Award nomination); Tryst (Olivier Award nomination) DGV (Olivier Award nomination and The South Bank Show Award); Electric Counterpoint (Critics’ Circle Award). Other designs include God’s Garden (Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, and Ipswich) Nopalitos (co-winner Critics’ Circle Award) and Paseillo (Venice Biennale), Romeo and Juliet and Chansons (National Theater, Mannheim) and Swan Lake (Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe). He has also designed for Birmingham Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Opéra National du Rhin Ballet. Jean Marc has also given talks about his design work at the V and A and Guggenheim Museums, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Dance Umbrella Ltd, UK. Future productions include The Pearl Fishers (Santa Fe Opera) and two new Wheeldon Ballets for New York City Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Lighting Designer Arnim Friess returns to the Finborough Theatre where he was Lighting Designer for The Grapes of Wrath (2000) and Fog (2012). Trained at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Theatre includes The Death of Harry (Ouroborus Theatre), National Holocaust Memorial Day, Lucky Seven (Hampstead Theatre), Joe Guy (Soho Theatre), Looking for JJ (Unicorn Theatre), One Night in November, Monged, Puntila and His Man Matti, The Mysteries (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), The Suicide, An Inspector Calls (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Mine (National Tour),The White Album (Nottingham Playhouse), The Pitchshifter (for leading Dutch contemporary music ensemble Insomnia), Rumblefish, Road, Lord of the Flies (Pilot Theatre), Amour (Oval House Theatre and the Dance Centre, Toronto), Moll Flanders, Metropolis, The Importance of Being Earnest (Kaos Theatre), Paradise (Birmingham Rep), Angels in America (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Oliver (Liverpool Playhouse), Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Birmingham Royal Ballet), My Beautiful Launderette (Snap Theatre), The Wall, King, Satyagraha (MAC Birmngham), Shot Through The Heart (Pentabus Theatre) and Hard Day’s Night (Hull Truck Theatre Company). Other work includes the bricks-in-space spectacle, Life on Mars at Legoland's worldwide, and the appearance of hundreds of angels inside St Paul’s Cathedral for the City of London Festival.

The cast includes:

Russell Bentley
At the Finborough Theatre, Russell appeared in Larry Kramer’s The Destiny of Me (2002) and Jason Sherman's Patience (2005).
Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes A Streetcar Named Desire (Liverpool Playhouse), League of Youth (Nottingham Playhouse), Drowning on Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre), Life After (New End Theatre), Death of A Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Six Characters in Search of An Author (Headlong at the Bristol Old Vic and National Tour), Three Sisters in Hope Street (Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, and Hampstead Theatre), Sit and Shiva (Hackney Empire), Chicken Soup with Barley (Nottingham Playhouse and the Tricycle Theatre), Violent B (Royal Court Young Writers Scheme), Old Wicked Songs (Bristol Old Vic and Gielgud Theatre), Tower of Bagel (Soho Theatre), Roaring Lions (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Angel (Old Vic New Voices at The Old Vic), Spoils of War (The Young Vic), Bitter Fruits of Palestine (The John Caird Company) and Waiting for Lefty and The Cradle Will Rock (BAC).

Film includes Kick Ass, Proof, Below, Biodiversity, Lone Clouds, Lost Battalion and Carmela.
Television includes Footballers Wives, EastEnders, The Bill, The Eustance Brothers, Joy to the World, Clitheroe and Cuban Conflict in America.
BBC Radio includes Normandy, The Other Man, Women's Hour, Voyage (Sony Award for Best Drama), The Whore of Mensa, Disordered Minds, Goal and Ring Around the Bath.
Audiobooks include The Time Traveller's Wife and Homage.

Matthew Marsh
Theatre includes Blood and Gifts, The Overwhelming (National Theatre), Copenhagen (National Theatre and West End), Glengarry Glen Ross (Apollo Theatre), No Naughty Bits (Hampstead Theatre), This Isn’t Romance (Soho Theatre), Now or Later (Royal Court Theatre), The Lightning Play and Conversations After a Burial (Almeida Theatre), The Exonerated (Riverside Studios), The Little Foxes (Donmar Warehouse), Us and Them (Hampstead Theatre), The Shawl (Arcola Theatre), A Buyer’s Market (Bush Theatre),The Goat (Almeida Theatre and West End) and twelve productions at The Young Vic including Bingo, A Prayer for My Daughter and the title roles in Hamlet and The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs.
Film includes The Iron Lady, In Clear Sight, Treacle Junior, The Special Relationship, Red Tails, Dead Man Running, Endgame, Beyond Friendship, An American Haunting, Land of the Blind, O Jerusalem, Bad Company, Miranda, Quicksand and Spygame.
Television includes Hotel Taliban, Hidden, Shirley, The Other Child, Lead Balloon, Here, New Tricks, Luther, Law and Order, Turning Point, The Philanthropist, Masterworks, How Not to Live Your Life, Heartbeat, Lewis, The Street, Spooks, Marie Lloyd, Midsomer Murders, The Commander, Service, Hotel Babylon, Surviving Disaster, Belonging, Return of the Dancing Master and Wall of Silence.

Toby Wharton

Toby Wharton recently had a huge success at the Finborough Theatre in the title role of Fog, which he also co-wrote with Tash Fairbanks. Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre includes Days of Significance (Royal Shakespeare Company), Ajax (Riverside Studios),Transient (Pleasance Edinburgh and Shunt Vaults Theatre), Home (Tristan Bates Theatre), Shalom Baby (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Home for Rikki Beadle-Blair (Tristan Bates Theatre) and Six Days (Camden Peoples’ Theatre), as well as readings and workshops at The Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, Soho Theatre and National Theatre Studio. Film and Television includes Postcode, Bashment, Silent Witness, The Bill and Gates, a new sitcom for Sky One.

Adam Blanshay Producer
Broadway theatre includes Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Jerusalem (Tony nomination), Catch Me If You Can (Tony nomination), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Tony nomination) and The Scottsboro Boys (Tony nomination). Off-Broadway theatre includes Tales From the Tunnel and The Picture of Dorian Gray. London theatre includes Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory). Fringe in New York City includes All Day Suckers and His Greatness. Australian theatre includes Doctor Zhivago. Cast Recordings include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Grammy nomination). A graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Adam was on last year's Old Vic T.S. Eliot Exchange.

Natalie Macaluso Producer
Trained at The Oxford School of Drama. She is currently Assistant Producer at the Criterion Theatre. Theatre includes Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Taming of the Shrew, The Rover (Southwark Playhouse), London Calling (Vineyard Theatre NYC), The 24 Hour Plays (Old Vic New Voices at The Old Vic). Radio Production includes The Afghan and the Penguin, Waves Breaking on a Shore (Promenade Productions for BBC Radio 4). Natalie was on last year's Old Vic T.S Eliot Exchange.

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