Johnson to Direct Revival of Travers' Rookery Nook at London's Menier Chocolate Factory

News   Johnson to Direct Revival of Travers' Rookery Nook at London's Menier Chocolate Factory
Terry Johnson, the playwright/director currently represented in the West End by the transfer of his Olivier Award-winning production of La Cage aux Folles from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Playhouse Theatre, will return to the Menier to direct a new production of the classic 1926 Ben Travers farce Rookery Nook.

The production will begin performances April 16, prior to an official opening April 29, for a run to June 20. Tim Shortall will design the production with lighting by Jason Taylor. Casting will be announced shortly.

Last seen in the West End in 1986 at the Shaftesbury Theatre with a cast that included Tom Courtenay, Nichola McAuliffe and Lionel Jeffries, and filmed in 1970 with a cast that included Irene Handl, Richard Briers and Arthur Lowe, Rookery Nook revolves around newly-married playboy Gerald Popkiss, who is on his way to Rookery Nook with his new wife Clara and his mother-in-law. Forced to travel on alone when his mother-in-law suddenly falls sick, Gerald arrives to find quite a commotion. A beautiful young girl has been thrown out of the house next door in nothing but her pink silk pyjamas and begs him to let her stay. Gerald must find the young girl some clothes and, until then, keep her hidden from his sister-in-law Gertrude, who lives nearby, and Rookery Nook's meddling maid, Mrs Leverett.

Johnson is a literary associate at the Royal Court Theatre, where he directed Joe Penhall's Dumb Show and premiered his own plays Insigificance, Hysteria (subsequently transferring to the Duke of York's), Hitchcock Blonde (subsequently transferring to the West End's Lyric) and Piano/Forte. Other original plays include Dead Funny (Hampstead Theatre, then the Vaudeville and Savoy) and Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick (National's Lytelton Theatre), as wel as stage adaptations of Edward Ravenscroft's London Cuckholds (for the National) and Charles Webb's The Graduate (West End and Broadway). In addition to directing many of his own plays, his directorial credits include productions of Rain Man, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Entertaining Mr. Sloane. At Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre he has directed Stephen Jeffreys' The Libertine and Lost Land.

Travers' other plays include The Bed Before Yesterday, Plunder, A Cup of Kindness, Spotted Dick and Thark. In 1996 Travers was the recipient of the Evening Standard Special Award for his work in the theatre. Travers' Rookery Nook was first performed at the Aldwych Theatre in 1926, and in 1970 it was filmed for the BBC with a cast including Irene Handl, Richard Briers and Arthur Lowe.

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