Monday, 15 September 2014

Casting announced for 'BUT FIRST THIS' - A MUSICAL HOMAGE TO RADIO 4 at Watermill Theatre



The Watermill Theatre is delighted to announce details of the premiere of But First This, a musical homage to Radio 4, written by BBC newsreader Kathy Clugston, playing from Thursday 23 October to Saturday 8 November 2014 (press night Monday 27 October, 7.30pm). On sale now.

Along with the countryside, the monarchy and freedom of speech, Radio 4 is in the top seven Best Things About Britain Today, according to a recent poll. But a new Controller is out to destroy this cherished institution! Can the intrepid team of presenters foil her wicked plan? Written by BBC newsreader Kathy Clugston with music by Desmond O'Connor, But First This is a witty and lovingly irreverent new musical set in the world of Woman’s HourThe Shipping ForecastThe Today Programme, Big Ben and, of course, the Pips. Just a Minute, make sure you’re on the Front RowTodaySaturday Live or Midweek, not at Broadcasting House but at The Watermill Theatre. It’s guaranteed to be livelier than Book at Bedtime. Warning: an in-depth knowledge of Farming Today may be required!

Just a Minute is written by Kathy Clugston and marks her musical theatre writing debut, inspired by 9 years of firsthand experience behind the microphone as a newsreader for BBC Radio 4. Kathy is also known as the Posh Radio 4 Lady (PR4L) in her regular appearances on The Scott Mills Show on Radio 1. She is the official voice of the Nobel Institute, narrating the annual documentary film about the Nobel prize winners which is shown on television around the world. With the Kensington Chamber Orchestra she has narratedPeter and the Wolf, The Three Little Pigs, The Owl and the Pussy Cat and We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and she made a guest appearance at the Proms in 2009 in Tavener's The Whale.

Desmond O’Connor is an internationally renowned and award winning composer, lyricist and performer with over twenty years' experience in cabaret, comedy and musical theatre. Recent shows include Once Bitten at Glasgow Cabaret Festival, hosting The Terror Season at Soho Theatre and Scott Mills the Musical and And the Devil May Drag You Under at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The cast features Michael Fenton Stevens as John Humphrys, Louise Plowright as Selina, Helena Blackman as Anna, Neil Ditt as Will and Jonathan Dryden Taylor as Jim, with James Beal on piano.

Michael Fenton Steven’s career spans four decades and includes theatre, television, radio, film, musicals, revue, stand-up, and a number one hit single in Britain and Australia with Spitting Image and “The Chicken Song”. Michael’s television work includes, Benidorm, Outnumbered, Nighty Night, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Mr Bean, Only Fools & Horses and One Foot in the Grave.Theatre work includes The English Tragedy at Watford Palace Theatre, The Bed Before Yesterday at the Almeida Theatre, Yes Prime Minister at the Apollo and Gielgud Theatres, and Fields of Ambrosia at the Aldwych Theatre. Michael is currently playing the part of Paul in The Archers on BBC Radio 4. 

Louise Plowright is known for her work in musicals including originating the role of Tanya and later playing Donna in Mamma Mia! at the Prince Edward Theatre, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, Oklahoma! and 42nd Street at Chichester Festival Theatre and the UK Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other theatre includes Stepping Out at Salisbury Playhouse, Absurd Person Singular at Curve, Leicester and Abigail’s Party at the Nuffield Theatre. Television work includes EastEndersFootballer’s Wives and Grange Hill.

Helena Blackman’s musical theatre credits include the 2014 UK Tour of Seven Brides for Seven BrothersMy Fair Lady and The Sound of Music at Kilworth House, the UK Tour of South Pacific and The Wizard of Oz at Leicester Haymarket. Helena was also a finalist on BBC’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?.

Neil Ditt’s theatre credits include Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre, Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre, the UK Tour ofFiddler on The RoofThe Captain of Köpenick at the National Theatre and All My Sons, Spend Spend Spend and Hot Mikado at Watermill Theatre.

Jonathan Dryden Taylor is currently appearing in Journey’s End at Watermill Theatre. Other recent credits include King Lear, Othelloand The Captain of Köpenick at the National Theatre and A Woman of No Importance and Lend Me a Tenor at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

But First This is written by Kathy Clugston with music by Desmond O'Connor. It is directed by Michael Kingsbury. It is produced by The Watermill in association with Act Productions Ltd.

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