Further Casting Confirmed for New West End Production of Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms
By Mark Shenton
Conleth Hill, Will Keen, Felicity Montagu and Malcolm Sinclair are to join the previously announced Rowan Atkinson in the cast of a new West End production of of Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms, beginning performances at Wyndham's Theatre Jan. 23 prior to an official opening Jan. 29, 2013.
Hill will play Henry Windscape, Keen will play Derek Meadle, Montagu will play Melanie Garth, and Sinclair will play Eddie Loomis, fellow teachers at the English language school for foreigners alongside Atkinson in the title role of St. John Quartermaine.
It will play two out-of-town dates first, at Brighton's Theatre Royal (Jan. 8-12) and Theatre Royal, Bath (Jan. 14-19), before opening in the West End. It is co-produced by Michael Codron, who also produced the play's original London production at the Queen's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.
Directed by Richard Eyre, with design by Tim Hatley, the play is set in the 1960s in an English language school for foreigners, portraying several years in the lives of seven teachers. At the heart of the group is St. John Quartermaine (Atkinson) — kind, pleasant and agreeable, but utterly hopeless as a teacher. An almost permanent feature in the staff room, he's always available to listen to the problems of his self-obsessed colleagues. But when a new principal is appointed, his future looks precarious.
Atkinson first came to national attention in the late 1970s in the renowned Amnesty International show "The Secret Policeman's Ball" and in the BBC satirical comedy series "Not the Nine O'Clock News." He subsequently created both "The Black Adder" with writer Richard Curtis, and his most famous character Mr. Bean, who first emerged in his 1980s stage revues and was developed into a television series with Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll. "Mr. Bean" has been screened in over 240 countries and transformed into an animated series and two feature films, co-produced by Atkinson, "Bean" and "Mr. Bean's Holiday." (You also saw him in the 2012 London Olympics' opening ceremony.) Other films include "Never Say Never Again," "The Lion King" (for which he provided the voice of Zazu), "The Witches," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Johnny English," "Love Actually" and "Johnny English Reborn."
Quartermaine's Terms marks his first appearance in a play for almost 25 years, though most recently he starred as Fagin in the return of Cameron Mackintosh's production of Oliver! to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He first appeared in the West End in 1981 in Rowan Atkinson in Revue, also produced by Codron.
Hill has been seen on Broadway in Stones in His Pocket and The Seafarer, and appeared regularly at the National Theatre, including the original production of Michael Frayn's Democracy. Keen has appeared in New York at BAM in the title role of Cheek by Jowl's Macbeth, and has been regularly seen on the London stage at the Almeida, Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith and National Theatre. Sinclair, who is the current President of Equity, the U.K.'s actors' union, is a regular at the National Theatre, where he is currently in The Doctor's Dilemma. He took over in the National Theatre production of The History Boys as the headmaster both in London and on Broadway. Montagu is best known for her TV roles opposite Steve Coogan in "I'm Alan Partridge" (opposite Steve Coogan, playing his personal assistant) and "Nighty Night" (playing the vicar's wife).
To book tickets for the West End run, contact the box office on 0844 482 5120, or visit quartermainesterms.com for more details.
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