Matthew McKenna to Lead the World Premiere of BANANAMAN THE MUSICAL; Full Cast Announced

Matthew McKenna to Lead the World Premiere of BANANAMAN THE MUSICAL; Full Cast Announced

Matthew McKenna is unmasked today as the star and "handsome hero" of Bananaman the Musical.

Bananaman, the Man-of-Peel, is flying out of the pages of much-loved comic Beano, and the hugely popular TV cartoon, in the world premiere of Bananaman the Musical, the hilarious new musical comedy by Leon Parris.

Bananaman is a unique member of the superhero ranks. He may have a jawline you can see from space and sport an exciting tight, lycra outfit, but this superhero has the muscles of 20 men and the brain of 20 mussels. Which isn't much! Bananaman will be attempting to save the world at London's Southwark Playhouse this Christmas.

Matthew McKenna has appeared in many major West End musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Legally Blonde the Musical, We Will Rock You, Starlight Express (as Elektra), and The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff) and both Singing in the Rain and 42nd Street at the Theatre Du Chatelet, Paris.

Also starring, as Bananaman's arch nemesis Doctor Gloom, the super villain seeking world domination, will be Marc Pickering (Young "Nucky" Thompson in HBO's Boardwalk Empire and Montparnasse in the Les Misérables movie).

Bringing the rest of the residents of Acacia Road to life are a stellar West End cast.

Jodie Jacobs (Broadway World Award Best Supporting Actress for Rock Of Ages) is Eric's loyal sidekick, Crow.

Mark Newnham (Dave Davies, in Sunny Afternoon) is Eric Wimp, and Carl Mullaney (Les Misérables, Chicago) is General Blight.

Superman's on holiday, Spiderman's not picking up - our only option, our very very last option is ...Bananaman. This new show with original music and songs is sure to a-peel to both young and old BANANAfans!

Bananaman began life in the Nutty comic in 1980, and was a runaway success, transferring to The Dandy before joining the world's longest-running comic, The Beano in 2012 and he is now one of Beano's flagship characters. A send-up of the likes of Superman and Batman, he was the subject of the hugely popular TV cartoon that ran between 1983 and 1986 for three series and 40 episodes on the BBC and featured the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie from The Goodies.

Fans of the TV series will remember the iconic opening sequence, "This is 29 Acacia Road. And this is Eric Wimp. He's a schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman. Ever alert for the call to action..."

Bananaman the Musical, written and composed by Leon Parris, directed by Mark Perry, will run at Southwark Playhouse from December 15 2017 to January 20 2018.

Press night is Thursday January 4 at 7.30pm

DOCTOR GLOOM - Marc Pickering

Marc Pickering returns to Southwark Playhouse where he appeared in the European premiere of Toxic Avenger The Musical. He recently starred as Finch in the musical How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Wiltons Music Hall), Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man (Trafalgar Studios), Merchant of Venice (Arcola) and The Glee Club (Hull Truck). His film work includes Sleepy Hollow, Calendar Girls, Kill Keith, I Want Candy, The Darkest Day and Montparnasse in Tom Hooper's 2012 film of the celebrated musical Les Misérables. On TV he has appeared in the new series of Josh and Homeboys & Dalziel & Pascoe (BBC), played R Wayne in Peter Kay's talent show parody Britain's Got the Pop Factor, Ippolito D'este in Borgia III (for Netflix), and the young Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in the fifth and final season of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

CROW - Jodie Jacobs

Jodie Jacobs has played Fantine in Les Misérables, Grizabella in Cats, Florence in Chess, Serena Katz in Fame and she understudied the lead roles of Scaramouche & Meatloaf in We Will Rock You (Dominion), Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (Duke of York's) and Eva Peron in Evita (Adelphi Theatre). Jodie has most recently been seen in The Lionel Bart Story as Judy Garland and Georgia Brown. She received an Off West End Award and a West End Wilma nomination for Lizzie (Greenwich Theatre and Denmark transfer), she won a Broadway World award for Best Supporting Actress for Rock Of Ages (West End). She was recently nominated Best Actress in a Musical as Atropos in the brand new musical 27 (Cockpit).

ERIC - Mark Newnham

Mark Newnham recently played Dave Davies in the Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon and the young Steve Marriott in the new musical All Or Nothing. His other roles include Cookie in Return to the Forbidden Planet, John Lennon in Lennon at Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, Jamie in The Last 5 Years, and Hot Stuff.

GENERAL BLIGHT - Carl Mullaney

Carl Mullaney has appeared in Les Misérables, (West End), Chicago (West End & international tour as Mary Sunshine), Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens (Booby Shevalle), West Side Story, Jest End and Fashion Victim The Musical.

CHIEF O'REILLY - TJ Lloyd

T J Lloyd's previous musicals include playing Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys & Dolls, The Baker in Into The Woods, Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along and Ray in Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens.

MRS WIMP - Lizzii Hills

Lizzii Hills is returning to Southwark Playhouse after starring there as Mayor Babs Belgoody & Ma Ferd in the European premiere of The Toxic Avenger The Musical. Her other musicals include Hedy LaRue in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Wilton's) Sarah Brown in Guys & Dolls, The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas, Chicago, High Society, Me and My Girl,and Crazy for You.

MAD MAGICIAN - Brian Gilligan

Brian Gilligan starred as Guy in Once (Dublin), Deco in The Commitments (UK and Irish Tour), Cornelius/1st Cover Faustus, Doctor Faustus (West End), Bruno in Piaf (Charing Cross Theatre), and Michael Collins in Michael Collins: A Musical Drama, (Tivoli Theatre, Dublin).

FIONA - Emma Ralston

Emma Ralston was Pluto in the UK premiere of Sondheim's The Frogs (Jermyn Street Theatre), Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Woods (Ye Olde Rose & Crown), and Eve Meet Me In St. Louis (Landor Theatre).

Chris McGuigan (Ensemble)

Chris McGuigan was in Candide (Cadogan Hall), Norman Jewison in JUDY! (Arts Theatre), Herakles, Sondheim's The Frogs (UK premiere, Jermyn Street), All My Sons (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Marcel Dusoleil (the lead), Amour (European premiere, Royal Academy of Music).

Amy Perry (Ensemble)

Amy Perry was Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Adelphi Theatre), Myra Yerkes, Road Show (Union Theatre), Ursula March, Sweet Charity (Cadogan Hall).

Bananaman the Musical is produced by Sightline Entertainment in association with Cahoots Theatre Company and Beano Studios.

Leon Parris (Writer and Composer)

Leon Parris is an award winning writer and composer for musicals including Wolfboy, Enid Blyton's The Famous Five, Stig of the Dump and Monte Cristo. He was winner of the Vivian Ellis Best Musical Award and The Really Useful Group Award for Most Promising Writer.

Mark Perry (Director)

Founder of Sightline Entertainment, Mark's production credits include The Famous Five, Honk, The Country, The Picture of DorIan Gray, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Just So, Bent and Stiffed. Directing credits include A Comedy of Arias, The Caretaker, Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sleuth, Cinderella Boom or Bust, A Slice of Saturday Night. As an actor, Mark has worked extensively in TV and theatre both in the West End and on national tour.

Alan Berry (Musical Supervisor)

Alan is currently the Musical Director for Big Fish at The Other Palace and recently The Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic, transferring to the West End later this year. Previous shows include Groundhog Day, Matilda The Musical, The
Commitments, Ghost The Musical, Avenue Q, Shrek, Hairspray and Spamalot.

Grant Murphy (Associate Director/Choreographer)

Creative credits include: Joseph (Jersey Opera House); Yas Jungle Cirque (Yas Island Abu Dhabi); Legally Blonde (Stanwix Theatre); Forever Plaid (St James Theatre London); Guys and Dolls (Cadogan Hall); Aladdin (Salisbury Playhouse);
Pinocchio (Greenwich Theatre); Rags (Lyric Theatre); Avenue Q (Ovation Productions); 18 Stone of Idiot - The Johnny Vegas Show (UMTV); He assisted Baayork Lee on A Chorus Line (London Palladium); and was tap coach to the Billy Elliot boys.

Mike Leopold (Set and Costume Designer)

Michael's recent credits include King Lear (The Cockpit), and The Wasp (Jermyn Street Theatre), Journey's End (Charles Cryer Theatre). He designed Proof (Tabard Theatre) and Chummy (The White Bear Theatre) which both received Off West End nominations for Best Design in 2015 and 2017. Associate credits include Love Me Tender, The Last Tango, Death Trap, Tango Moderne, Son of a Preacher Man (All UK Tours), Top Hat (Kilworth House),

Sightline Entertainment - Producer

Sightline Entertainment is an independently owned Production Company based in London. Sightline produces commercial new work and revivals of both plays and musical theatre productions. Previous productions include Tryst, The Duke in
Darkness, The Country, Honk, The Famous Five, A Slice of Saturday Night.

Cahoots Theatre Company - Associate Producer

Cahoots Theatre Company has been awarded the Stage One Bursary and also the Stage One Start Up Fund in 2016 for the national tour of Dead Sheep. They are currently producing a National Tour of Alex Salmond Unleashed. Previous Productions include Starting Here, Starting Now, Snap, Sick Dictators (Jermyn St Theatre), The Translucent Frogs of Quuup (Edinburgh Festival, Ambassadors Theatre, King's Head), Deco Diva (59E59 Theater New York) The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (National Tour), Clown in the Moon (Edinburgh and St James' Theatre), Dead Sheep (Park Theatre and national tour), Audience with Jimmy Savile (Park Theatre and Edinburgh) Alex Salmond Unleashed (Edinburgh and national tour).

Beano Studios - Original Producer

Beano Studios is a global multimedia company established to create, curate and deliver mischievous entertainment for kids aged 6-106, all over the world. They produce diverse entertainment across multiple platforms including TV, digital, theatrical projects, consumer and the much-loved comic and annual. For more information visit beano.com

For more information visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk.



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