Defying Hitler and Bogus Woman Launch Brits Off Broadway Festival May 2

By Kenneth Jones
May 2, 2006

Brits Off Broadway, 59E59 Theaters' annual festival of new British theatre in midtown Manhattan, begins May 2 with two works — The Bogus Woman and Defying Hitler — at the modern beehive of intimate venues on East 59th Street.

The festival will offer 11 productions May 2-July 2.

Presented by 59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, artistic director; Peter Tear, executive producer), Brits Off Broadway welcomes British theatre artists, writers and/or troupes to present often edgy and fresh productions, usually representing the U.S. premieres of works.

The 2006 Brits Off Broadway line-up includes:

  • The Bogus Woman, written by Kay Adshead, directed by Kully Thiarai, performed by Sarah Niles. "An explosive piece of theater from The Leicester Haymarket Theatre. After fleeing her country following the mass murder of her family, a distressed and beaten African woman is interrogated at Heathrow, and subsequently locked up in the UK's national refugee detention center, Campsfield House." May 2–21.

  • Defying Hitler, adapted (from Sebastian Haffner's memoir) and performed by Rupert Wickham, directed by Peter Symonds. "Developed at London's Royal National Theatre, where it was performed as a companion piece to Michael Frayn's award-winning Democracy, Defying Hitler is an absorbing and chilling adaptation of the candid, witty and extremely moving memoirs of Sebastian Haffner, a young German growing up in Berlin between the two world wars." May 2–21.

  • Beau Brummell by Ron Hutchinson, in rep with an encore performance of Cooking for Kings, both performed by Ian Kelly and directed by Simon Green. "Ian Kelly returns to Brits Off Broadway with an encore performance of Cooking for Kings, the undisputed hit of the first Brits Off Broadway festival in 2004. Performed in rep with Beau Brummell, about the legendary British dandy, which Kelly also explores in his exhaustive biography 'Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy,' being published by Simon and Schuster in May." May 9–June 11.

  • The Race, created by Gecko, directed by Amit Lahav and Al Nedjari. "From the producers of last year's Brits Off Broadway sleeper hit Jackson's Way comes The Race, a visually stunning and astoundingly athletic show about a man preparing to meet his first child." Developed at the renowned Battersea Arts Centre and the National Theatre Studio. May 16–June 4.

  • Private Peaceful, adapted (from a novel by Children's Laureate Michael Morpugo), directed by Simon Reade and starring Alexander Campbell. "Direct from London's West End, Private Peaceful is a vivid and searing tale of a 16 year-old World War I soldier's final hours before a dawn execution by firing squad." May 24–June 11.

  • cloud: burst, written and directed by Chris O'Connell and starring Graeme Hawley. "An unforgettable play that features a stunning performance by Graeme Hawley, a man struggles to pick up the pieces after the murder of his 10-year-old daughter." May 23–June 11.

  • Nothing, adapted from the Henry Green novel by Andrea Hart and directed and designed by Philip Prowse. "From the renowned Glasgow Citizen's Theatre, starring the incomparable Sophie Ward and directed and designed by the legendary Philip Prowse, this adaptation of one of Henry Green's lesser-known novels is a caustic comedy of manners surrounding the impending marriage of the children of two ex-lovers." June 7–July 2.

  • Stories for the Wobbly Hearted, written and performed by Daniel Kitson. "Daniel Kitson makes his New York debut with his Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning show...a collection of joyous, intimate, funny, sad, poignant and life affirming stories — told by lamplight." June 13–28.

  • Love Me Tender: The Songs of Elvis Presley, created and performed by Barb Junger. "One of Britain’s most gifted cabaret artists interprets the song book of The King, Elvis Presley. A dark a dark and intriguing journey through, love, loneliness, obsession and faith, Love Me Tender explores some of his lesser-known gospel songs and mines the hits that made him a legend." June 29–July 2.

  • After the End, by Dennis Kelly and directed by Roxana Silbert. "This co-production from the critically acclaimed Bush Theatre and Paines Plough is an intense psychological thriller. Following a nuclear attack, office geek Mark risks his life to rescue the woman he has worshipped from afar, sheltering them both in his nuclear fallout bunker. Living on rations of tuna and canned chili, Louise begins to suspect that perhaps this nuclear attack never happened." June 13–July 2.

    The single ticket price for each show ranges from $25-$45 ($17.50-$31.50 for 59E59 members). A three show Brit Pass (one show per theatre) is available for $80 ($64 for 59E59 members) and a six show Brit Pass (two shows per theatre) is available for $160 ($128 for 59E59 members). Tickets to Brits Off Broadway are available by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or online at www.ticketcentral.com. For more information on Brits Off Broadway, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.