Cast & Creative

Stefan Bednarczyk Musical Director / Lane / Merriman

Stefan read music at Oxford University. After a spell writing for Granada Television, he moved to London where his extensive credits as Musical Director include shows at the National Theatre, the Barbican, the Almeida, Hampstead and Open Air, Regent’s Park and shows all over Britain.
As a solo cabaret performer he has enjoyed seasons at Pizza on the Park, King’s Head and Jermyn St Theatre in London. He has also worked in many other countries including New York, Cannes, Dubai, Adelaide and Vienna. As an accompanist he has MDd shows for many fine artists and as an actor his London roles include a year-long run opposite Gene Wilder in Laughter on the 23rd floor (Queen’s Theatre), Semi-Monde (Lyric), The Games of Love and Chance (National Theatre), The LA Plays (Almeida), Five O’Clock Angel (Hampstead and King’s Head). His films include Friends Pictured Within, Composed, Sea-Change and Topsy-Turvy. He is looking forward to returning to the Nottingham Playhouse in February for the third run of Forever Young, which he co-adapted with Giles Croft.

Susie Blake Miss Prism

From barmaid Beverley Unwin in Coronation Street to the arch continuity announcer for Victoria Wood and the more recent Mrs Brown’s Boys, House of Rooms and Wild At Heart, Susie has enjoyed a wide range of roles. Much of her TV work has been for the BBC, giving us Eve Beckett in Roger Roger, Susan Hopkins in A Year in Provence and Beverley in two series of A Prince Among Men. For YTV, she played Mrs Jerebohm in The Darling Buds of May and appeared in 4 series of Singles. In film she played The Woman in Red in Fierce Creatures with John Cleese. Her recent theatre work includes: When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre, the Grumpy Old Women Live 2 UK Tour and Novello Theatre (and then TV’s Let’s Dance for Sport Relief); Bertha in Boeing Boeing on tour; Snake In The Grass, Virtual Reality and Life And Beth at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and on tour. She played Madame Morrible in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria, appeared as Mother Lord in High Society on tour and Belinda Blair in Noises Off for the NT.

Gyles Brandreth Lady Bracknell

Gyles was last seen in the West End in the award-winning musical revue Zipp! and at the Riverside Studios in his five-star-rated sell-out one-man show earlier this year. Best known these days as a reporter on The One Show (BBC1), a regular on Just A Minute (Radio 4) and as the author of The Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries (in which Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle feature as the detectives), Gyles is a former MP and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, whose varied career has included playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night in Edinburgh in 2005 and Scrabble against a centenarian friend of Wilde’s at Bedales School in 1963. The title of Gyles’s recently published diaries is Something Sensational to Read in the Train – one of Gwendolen’s lines in The Importance of Being Earnest. As artistic director of the Oxford Theatre Festival Gyles produced The Trials of Oscar Wilde, starring Tom Baker. Gyles’s many books include a biography of Sir John Gielgud (who famously played Jack Worthing on stage and directed Dame Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell). His theatre work includes Now We Are Sixty (with music by Julian Slade), and Wonderland (with Susannah Pearse), which starred Michael Maloney and Flora Spencer-Longhurst and premiered at the Riverside in 2010, directed by Iqbal Khan.

Mark Edel-Hunt Jack Worthing

Mark trained at RADA, leaving to film Brideshead Revisited, a Miramax Film directed by Julian Jarrold, and Mistresses for BBC1. Since then he has enjoyed a variety of theatre roles. This year he has played Amadeo in The Syndicate at Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Sean Mathias, Branwell Bronte in Bronte for Shared Experience and Wolfe Tone in Northern Star at the Finborough Theatre. Other theatre credits include Quiz at theSoho Theatre, See How They Run at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, Vincent van Gogh in Vincent in Brixton for the Original Theatre Company and The Great Irish Elk at Theatre 503. He plays Hans in The Resistance of Mrs Brown on Radio 4 in the Spring. He performed in The Importance of Being Earnest last year at the New Wolsey, Ipswich, playing Algy and is very excited to have a chance to play Jack too, only to play Algy again next year for the Rose Theatre, Kingston on tour!

Anya Murphy Gwendolen Fairfax

Anya attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from 2007, working with directors such as Firenza Guidi, Caroline Leslie, Elizabeth Freestone and Russell Bolam before graduating in 2010. Since then she has worked in radio for BBC Radio 4 including Women’s Hour, playing Gwen in Writing the Century directed my Kate McAll and Jess in Boom Boom directed by Polly Thomas. She played Tanya in The Final Punchline, a short film directed by David Evans that went to the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. She has worked with Iqbal Khan (director) before, playing Mrs Marshall in his play Playhouse Creatures.

Edward Petherbridge ♦ Dr Chasuble

As part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company in the 1960s, Edward walked on in Olivier’s Othelloand later created the role of Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Edward has been a leading actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre; was a founding member of the Actors’ Company in 1972. He is a winner of the Olivier and London Theatre Critics’ Awards, has twice been nominated for a Tony Award and received the Sony Award for Best Actor in a Radio Drama. He has interpreted a wide range of roles from Feydeau to Euripides. His major roles on stage include Newman Noggs inNicholas Nickleby; ; Malvolio in Twelfth Night; and Krapp in Krapp’s Last Tape. Recent stage roles include Donner in Tom Stoppard’s Artist Descending a Staircase. Edward performed in stage musicals such Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White and The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. On television he was a definitive Lord Peter Wimsey in the Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries and appeared in Midsomer Murders.

Colin Ryan Algernon Moncrieff

Colin Ryan recently completed his training at Arts Ed School of Acting, just down the road from this theatre in Chiswick. Already he has appeared in an eclectic range of work including the public defender Rick in John Adams’ Contemporary Opera I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky at Theatre Royal Stratford East and both the Ghost of Christmas Past and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Rep. His television credits include his first job after graduation as series regular Buck in sci-fi comedy Hounded for CBBC with Rufus Hound. Since then he has played Dan in Shelfstackers and the unofficial Prince of Florence, Lorenzo de Medici as a series regular in the popular and acclaimed Leonardo for CBBC with Flora (Cecily).

Flora Spencer-Longhurst Cecily Cardew

Flora has worked with Iqbal and Gyles at the Riverside before, playing Alice / Isa Bowman in Wonderland. Other stage appearances include Polly Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera in Regent’s Park Theatre, Cornelia Vermeer inGirl with a Pearl Earring at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Rosalie Wells in The Children’s Hour at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Frankie in The Member of the Wedding at the Young Vic with Matthew Dunster and Regine Engstrand in Ghosts, also at the Young Vic. Television work includes Chickens on Channel 4, Unforgiven, Losing It and Lewis for ITV1, Wallander and The Family Man for BBC1 and series regular cross-dressing apprentice Lisa Gherardini in Leonardo for CBBC with Colin (Algernon). She has recently finished filming her first feature film The Glass House.

Creative Team

Douglas Livingstone Writer, Co-Producer

After working as an actor in Rep and on tour, and in the West End with Maggie Smith in Peter Shaffer’s The Private Ear Douglas took up writing and has had 25 television plays produced by the BBC and ITV, including We’ll Support You Evermore which he also directed and which starred John Thaw, and Drums Along Balmoral Drive, which received the Press Guild Award, Best Play. He has also written two comedy series: Born and Bred and Boys from the Bush as well as making many adaptations and contributing to other series. His radio plays include Road to Rocio, which was awarded the Sony Prize for Best Production and Road to Durham. His stage play Improper Relations was directed by Ross Livingstone at the Old Sorting Office, Barnes.

Adam McGuinness & Zia Moranne Composers & Co-producers

Adam read music at London University where he specialised in composition and music technology. He completed his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying jazz. Zia read music at Worcester College, Oxford and completed her studies at The Guildhall School Of Music and Drama where she was awarded the Edith Vogel Piano Prize. Zia then went on to study accordion with well-known accordion teacher, Trevani.

Together Adam and Zia have written and arranged music for computer games (Championship Manager V), corporate (Commonwealth Games, Sky Sports, 3 Mobile, Deliverance), short films (Lovely May, Photographing Me, Sea Changes, Re-Run, Dialogue For One) and theatre (I Have Been Here Before, Risk Everything, Hot Property, Macbeth, Improper Relations).

Iqbal Khan Director

Iqbal recently directed Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass, starring Anthony Sher and Tara Fitzgerald, which received rave reviews and The Killing Of Sister George starring Meera Syal, Helen Lederer and Belinda Lang. He will be directing Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC in 2012. Iqbal worked with Gyles Brandreth last year onWonderland, a play written by Gyles, about Lewis Carroll here at the Riverside and at the Edinburgh Fringe. He has worked extensively with musical productions, having directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and having been awarded The Minack Trophy for Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly. He has his own history with the Wilde play as he once directed The Importance of Being Earnest at The Union Chapel.

Ross Livingstone Associate Director

Ross acted professionally on TV, radio and stage from the age of 7. He is now Arts and Theatre Director at the Old Sorting Office, Barnes and has directed there for the last 5 years, in the third of which he directed Handbag, the first run of tonight’s play. His productions include Be My Baby, The Private Ear, Ruffian on the Stair, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, The Caretaker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Entertaining Mr Sloane, An Evening with Gary Lineker, A Day in the Life of Joe Egg, Lunch Hour, The Taming of the Shrew, The Old Neighbourhood, Twelfth Night, The Dumb Waiter, Lone Star, and Hobson’s Choice.

Samal Blak Set Designer

Born in the Faroe Islands, Samal Blak graduated in Design for Performance from Central Saint Martins – College of Art & Design, UK.
He was one of the individual winners of the Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2009. Subsequently he designed Verdis’s Othello for Birmingham Opera Company, directed by Graham Vick, nominated for the 2010 RPS music award for Opera and Music Theatre. Other productions include: Cowardy Custard UK Tour; The Kissing Dance Jermyn Street Theatre, London; Macbeth Guerilla Theatre in South Korea; How To Be An Other Woman Gate Theatre, London; Pins and Needles Cock Tavern Theatre (voted No 1. Fringe Hit of the year 2010 by Time Out); Budam-Man Comedie de Caen, France; The Madman’s Garden Tallinn, Estonia; Antoine and the Paper Aeroplane, Edinburgh Festival, and on tour.
Forthcoming work includes Life is a Dream Birmingham Opera Company, and Cosmo SADARI Theatre Company, Seoul, South Korea.

Debbie Astell  Choregrapher

Debbie Astell was born into a family of dancers and choreographers. She began dancing at the age of three and went on to train with Arlene Philips. Having appeared in numerous West End Musicals, including Chicago, Underneath the Arches and Pal Joey, films including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and TV, including Morecambe and Wise, Debbie turned from dance to choreography. She has choreographed for TV and feature films such as GoldenEye, Lassiter, The Bank Job, and co-choreographed Mrs Henderson Presents, a Heyman Hoskins film directed by Stephen Frears. Most recently, Debbie has choreographed the ‘Hot Gusset’ dancers, in Shooting Stars for BBC 2. She also runs her own agency and production company ‘Times Two Productions’, working on Fashion, Trade and Exhibition Shows and Product Launches for Marks and Spencer, Christian Dior and Fila.

Jemima Biddulph Production Manager

Having home educated her son and given private scholarship tuition for the last year, Jemima joined Bunbury Productions, to help with the casting and administration of the show. She had spent the noughties teaching English and History of Art at St Paul’s Girls’, Ibstock Place and Burntwood Schools. She worked as Structural Editor on Oliver James’ books Contented Dementia, Affluenza, The Selfish Capitalist and They F*** You Up in between. She has also worked as an examiner for AQA, freelance journalist, casting assistant for Chloe Emmerson and pupil barrister at the chambers of Lord Williams of Mostyn QC. She read English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge and subsequently studied for various postgraduate qualifications. She has written songs and is currently writing a play.

Richard Howell ♦ Lighting Designer

Richard graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2006. He has worked in opera including The Turn of the Screw by Opera Up Close and Lucia Di Lammermoor by Clonter Opera, but the majority of his work has been in the theatre. This includes Les Parents Terribles (Donmar Waherhouse season) and Angry Young Man at Trafalgar Studios; The Surprise of Love (Bath, Ustinov) Snake in the Grass directed by Lucy Bailey at the Print Room; Great Expectations, Single Spies and Heroes at the Watermill Theatre; Romeo and Juliet for York Theatre Royal and on UK tour; I was A Beautiful Day at Tron Theatre; Many shows at Arcola such as Wolves at the Window at Arcola and in New York; Twelfth Night (for which he was awarded the runner up prize in the ALD Michael Northen Bursary). Much Ado About Nothing at Ripley Castle; Faith Hope and Charity, Sense and Plasticine, all at the Southwark Playhouse. He recently worked as associate lighting designer on King Lear at the Donmar, on UK Tour and in New York, and has re-lit internationally for Edward Hall’s Propeller company.

Robert Worley Costume Designer

Born in Essex, England, Robert studied theatre design at the Central School of Art and Design, London. He worked in costume for theatre and BBC television before going into film, assisting Oscar winning designer Milena Canonero. Since then has worked on many film and television productions including Carlton TVs flagship productions Bramwell and Kavanagh QC, lately concentrating mainly on the design of the men’s costumes. He has earned 2 Emmy nominations for work on Hallmark’s Don Quixote and Dinotopia.The latest films he has worked on include Kingdom of Heaven, Marie Antoinette, and HBO’s John Adams, Sherlock Holmes I and II, and Wolfman. He is currently working on Anna Karenina.

Jan Harrison-Shell Hair and Make-up Designer

Jan’s father built their first TV set and she has been fascinated by show business ever since. She loved the make-up used in her childhood ballet shows and later trained at the BBC working her way up in the make-up department at TV Centre from trainee to designer. She worked on many iconic shows such as Dr Who, both at this theatre and on location, and acquired experience across the board, from news to opera, light entertainment and period and modern drama. She then worked freelance, making up Charlton Heston, Richard Burton and several Prime Ministers including both the real Baroness Thatcher and her impersonator, comedienne Janet Brown. Her feature film credits include ‘The House of Mirth‘ directed by Terence Davies. She also teaches period hairdressing at a school in North London.

Period Advisor: Evangeline Harrison
Costume Supervisor: Alison Wyldeck
Hair and Make-up Designer: Jan Harrison-Shell
Hair and Make-up Artist: Catherine Vose
Assistant Set Design: Bryony Edwards, Sayako Makino, Joanna Goodman, Jamila Davis.
Graphic Desinger: Rebecca Pitt
Stage Management: Stage Manager: Claire Mitchell , Deputy Stage Manager: Charlie Storey; Assistant Stage Manager: Ollie Biddulph