Chichester's TAKEN AT MIDNIGHT, Starring Penelope Wilton, Heads to the West End Tonight

By: Jan. 15, 2015
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Jonathan Church's world premiere production of Taken At Midnight, a new play by Mark Hayhurst, will run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited season previewing from tonight, January 15th. Returning to the West End after a five-year absence, Penelope Wilton reprises her role as Irmgard in this production which is currently enjoying a sold-out season in Chichester.

Last seen in the West End opposite Jude Law's Hamlet in 2009, Penelope Wilton originates the role of Irmgard, the mother of celebrated lawyer Hans Litten who puts Hitler on the witness stand in 1930s Germany with devastating consequences.

Staged as part of Chichester Festival Theatre's Hidden Histories season, Irmgard's relationship with her son, Hans, and her courageous efforts to help him are at the heart of this compelling new play. Building his reputation on drama documentaries which explore key historical moments, Mark Hayhurst also wrote 37 Days, a major factual drama series for the BBC's WW1 Centenary in 2014.

In Taken At Midnight, his theatre debut, Hayhurst casts light on a universal theme as the mother of brilliant German Jewish lawyer Hans Litten fights for his release against the seemingly impossible might of the Nazi regime. Fearless and indomitable she confronts his captors at enormous personal risk. The unquestionable love of a mother for her son is put centre stage in Hayhurst's study of the horrors of pre-war Nazi Germany.

Commissioned by commercial producer Mark Goucher, and written with Penelope Wilton in mind Taken at Midnight is Mark Hayhurst's first work for the stage. Its success in Chichester and this transfer to the West End, foregrounds Hayhurst as a new and distinctive playwright. The first new play to open in the West End in 2015 and playing for a strictly limited season, it is a rare opportunity to see one of the UK's leading performers in a significant and important new play.

Taken At Midnight will run at Theatre Royal Haymarket until March 14th. For tickets and more information, visit www.trh.co.uk or call the Box Office: 020 7930 8800.

Penelope Wilton plays Irmgard, Litten's mother. She returns to the West End after a five-year absence following 2009's Hamlet (Wyndham's Theatre). Other recent credits include A Delicate Balance (Almeida Theatre) and screen roles in Downton Abbey and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Martin Hutson plays Hans Litten. Chichester credits include If Only, Taking Sides and Collaboration (also West End). Other credits include the highly praised recent TV drama series The Honourable Woman.

Allan Corduner plays Fritz Litten. Credits include Serious Money (Royal Court Theatre, West End and Broadway), the West End production of A View from the Bridge and the Mike Leigh film Topsy Turvy in which he played Arthur Sullivan.

Pip Donaghy plays Erich Mühsam. Chichester credits include Rattigan's Nijinsky and The Deep Blue Sea, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II (also West End) and Taking Sides and Collaboration (also West End).

Mike Grady plays Carl von Ossietzky. Credits include Festival 2014's Black Comedy and screen roles in Last of the Summer Wine and Citizen Smith.

John Light plays Dr Conrad. Credits include Luisa Miller (Donmar Warehouse), The Master Builder (Almeida Theatre), Julius Caesar and The Tempest (both for the RSC).

David Yelland plays Lord Clifford Allen. Chichester credits include A Marvellous Year for Plums, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II (also West End). Other credits include his role in the iconic British film Chariots of Fire.

The cast also includes Marc Antolin who plays Gustav Hammerman, Christopher Hogben as Hotelier and Dermot McLaughlin as SA Officer.

The production is directed by Jonathan Church, Chichester Festival Theatre's Artistic Director. Chichester credits include Festival 2014's Amadeus, The Last Confession (Toronto, Los Angeles and Australia tour), Singin' in the Rain (also West End, tour and Tokyo), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (also West End) and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (also West End). Other credits include Of Mice and Men (West End and tour) and The Witches (West End and tour).

Design is by Robert Jones whose Chichester credits include Kiss Me, Kate (also Old Vic) and Calendar Girls (also UK tour, Australia and Canada). Other credits include West End productions of A Chorus of Disapproval and Much Ado About Nothing.

Lighting Design is by Tim Mitchell, Chichester's Associate Lighting Designer. Chichester credits include Festival 2014's Amadeus, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (also West End), Kiss Me, Kate (also West End), Singin' in the Rain (also West End, tour and Tokyo), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (also West End) Bingo (also Young Vic) and Yes, Prime Minister (also West End and UK tour).

Sound Design is by Mike Walker whose Chichester credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (and West End). Other credits include Crazy for You, The Glass Menagerie, Caroline or Change (National Theatre), and Jerry Springer - The Opera (Battersea Arts Centre, Edinburgh Festival, National Theatre and UK tour) for which he won the first Olivier Award for Best Sound Design.

The composer is Matthew Scott, Chichester's Associate Composer. Chichester credits include Festival 2014's Amadeus, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (also West End), Private Lives (also West End), A Marvellous Year for Plums, The Deep Blue Sea and Rattigan's Nijinsky, The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound, Taking Sides and Collaboration (which transferred to the West End), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II (also West End), Entertaining Angels and Pravda.

Taken At Midnight premiered at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in September as part of Festival 2014. It is one of three world premieres that made up the Hidden Histories season with each play exploring little-known stories taken from familiar historical events. During 2014, Chichester reopened the Festival Theatre following a £22 million redevelopment with Peter Shaffer's Amadeus also directed by Jonathan Church with Rupert Everett as Salieri. Critically acclaimed productions of Stevie, Pressure, Miss Julie/Black Comedy, Guys and Dolls and Gypsy have also featured in this highly significant season which continues until the end of 2014.

Pictured: Penelope Wilton (Irmgard Litten) with Allan Corduner (Fritz Litten) in Taken at Midnight. Photo by Manuel Harlan.



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