Monday, 21 February 2022

Full casting announced for the return of THE WICKER HUSBAND at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre

Full casting has been announced for the highly anticipated return of critically acclaimed musical THE WICKER HUSBAND. Following the show’s premature closure on its original press night on 16 March 2020, Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre are thrilled to welcome the creative team and cast to The Watermill for a new run of the show this March.

Joseph Alessi (Moonlight and Magnolias – Nottingham Playhouse and The Lorax – Old Vic and Toronto) will play ‘Cobbler’, Gemma Sutton (Sweet Charity – The Watermill, The Girl from the North Country – Gielgud and Toronto) will play ‘Ugly Girl’, Olivier Award winner George Maguire (Sunny Afternoon – West End, 20th Century Boy - touring) as ‘Wicker Husband’, Angela Caesar (Caroline or Change - Playhouse Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and National Theatre, Rags – Park Theatre) as ‘Cobbler's Wife’, Jonathan Charles (The Butterfly Lion - Barn Theatre Cirencester, War Horse - national tour) as ‘Innkeep’, Claire-Marie Hall(Operation Mincemeat - Southwark Playhouse, The Colours - Soho Theatre) as ‘Innkeep's Wife’, Jack Quarton (Amélie – Criterion, Assassins – Watermill) as ‘Tailor’ and Davina Moon (The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson – Park, Privates on Parade – Noel Coward) as ‘Tailor's Wife’, Julian Forsyth (Local Hero - Royal Lyceum Edinburgh, Sunset Boulevard - ENO) as ‘Old Basket Maker’ with Jon Whitten as on-stage band playing the Hammered Dulcimer, Rachel Barnes also as on-stage band, and Pat Moran as onstage Musical Director.

Nisha Anil (Rhia and The Tree of Lights - Quirk Theatre and Dr. Dolittle - Illyria Theatre) and Sebastian Charles (Puppeteer for ‘Amal’ in The Walk - Good Chance and Handspring Puppet Company) and Puppeteer and cover ‘Aslan’ in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – The Bridge) will be the puppeteers of The Wicker Husband, with Tom Norman (War Horse, UK and international and Circus 1903 – Southbank) as Swing.

Darren Clark (writer, music & lyrics) said, “The Wicker Husband was one of many shows that closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and sadly many of those will never get the chance to be performed again. We feel so incredibly fortunate that the Watermill Theatre continues to put its faith in our story and for its continued perseverance and commitment to supporting quality work by new British writers in remounting the show this coming March. When we go into rehearsal, it will be nearly 10 years since we originally began working on this beautiful, ambitious show and we simply cannot wait to share it with you at the stunning Watermill with this extraordinary cast.”

Paul Hart, Artistic Director, said, “It’s been a long road since The Wicker Husband, a piece that is so perfect for The Watermill's stage, opened and was forced to almost immediately close, in March 2020. With its beautiful score, and incredible puppets, I can't wait to welcome back the whole team for this remarkable show.”

Directed by Charlotte Westenra, with Book by Rhys Jennings, Music and lyrics by Darren Clark and based on an original short story by Ursula Wills, this folk-inspired new musical tells the timeless tale of the outsider and was the winner of the inaugural MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award in 2016 celebrating new British musical theatre writers. It was also included in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's 30th Annual Festival of New Musicals in New York.

The show will feature handcrafted wicker puppets created by Puppetry designer and director Finn Caldwell whose credits include War Horse (West End & International), Life of Pi(Sheffield Crucible) and The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic & West End), with highly skilled puppeteers from Handspring, War Horse and Good Chance, bringing The Wicker Husband to life. 

THE WICKER HUSBAND will play from Friday 11 – Saturday 26 March 2022, with a press night on Tuesday 15 March.
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