Casting Complete for Menier Chocolate Factory's Common Pursuit Revival

News   Casting Complete for Menier Chocolate Factory's Common Pursuit Revival
The Menier Chocolate Factory will present a revival of Simon Gray's 1984 play, The Common Pursuit. Performances are scheduled to begin May 9 for a limited run through July 20. Opening night is May 27.

Fiona Laird will direct an all-star cast that includes "EastEnders" star Nigel Harman, Reece Shearsmith of The League of Gentlemen and "Gimme Gimme Gimme"'s James Dreyfus.

All three actors have recently done major theatre work: Harman was seen as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in the West End and on tour, and in Sheffield Crucible's production of Pinter's The Caretaker that subsequently came to the Tricycle; Shearsmith was recently seen in the tour of The Producers that he also did in the West End; and Dreyfus recently played the Emcee in the current production of Cabaret.

Also in the cast will be Robert Portal, Ben Caplan and Mary Stockley.

The play, which follows the progress of a group of Cambridge undergraduates who launch a literary magazine called The Common Pursuit, shows how they find it hard to stay true to the ideals of their youth in the world beyond. It was originally staged at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1984, and subsequently revived in a commercial production at the Phoenix Theatre in 1988.

Portal most recently played Hannay in The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre. Other credits include Maurice in Tom and Viv at the Almeida and Gary Le Jeune in Noises Off at the Piccadilly Theatre. Caplan has recently been seen in productions at Hampstead, The Young Vic, Soho Theatre and the National Theatre, including Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years. He also appeared in the HBO/BBC mini-series "The Passion." Stockley appeared as Hope in Anything Goes at the National Theatre and at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Beth in Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse, and also in Love's Labour's Lost at the National Theatre. Director Fiona Laird most recently directed Cinderella by Stephen Fry at the Old Vic Theatre and the world premiere of Arnold Wesker's play Longitude at Greenwich Theatre. Her other work includes Oh! What a Lovely War for the National Theatre.

Gray's other plays include Butley, Otherwise Engaged, Quartermaine's Terms and The Old Masters. He has also written many plays for television and radio, several novels and numerous memoirs including "The Smoking Diaries," "The Year Of Jouncer," "Fat Chance," "Enter a Fox" and, most recently, "The Last Cigarette."

For tickets, on sale beginning April 21, call the box office at 020 7907 7060 or visit

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