The New Vic Theatre's Marvellous officially opens in London's West End as the inaugural production at the first newly built West End theatre in 50 years, @sohoplace, October 20. With New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins at the helm, the run will continue through November 26. Performances began October 15.
Based on the true story of Neil "Nello" Baldwin, who co-wrote the adaptation with Heskins from his story co-written with Malcolm Clarke, the play follows Baldwin from childhood in the 1950s, when no one expected him to amount to anything, to hitchiking across the country, becoming a famous clown, winning a BAFTA award, and more.
The play features a company that includes neuro-divergent actors. Michael Hugo stars as Real Neil with Suzanne Ahmet, Charlie Bence, Gareth Cassidy, Alex Frost, Jerone Marsh-Reid, and Daniel Murphy.
Heskins' creative team includes designer Lis Evans, original music director and composer Conrad Nelson, additional music director and composer James Atherton, movement director Beverley Norris-Edmunds, lighting and projection designer Daniella Beattie, original sound designer James Earls-Davis, New Vic sound designer Alex Day, and London transfer sound designer Paul Groothuis. Marvellous is produced by Nica Burns, the mastermind behind @sohoplace.
"What a thrill it is, to see a new theatre in the round opening in London!" shared Heskins in an earlier statement. "And what a very special honor to be collaborating with Nica Burns so that the first show produced in it will come from the New Vic. Nica's decision to make a West End venue which deliberately nurtures an inclusive relationship between stage and audience is a radical one, and it's matched by creative programming. When she first proposed we open her new theatre with Marvellous, I was speechless: I could never imagine we would receive an extraordinary invitation like this. Nello’s special magic rubs off on everyone he encounters, and bringing that magic from audiences in Staffordshire to audiences in London will be such a privilege."
"Theresa said, ‘I would like to make a play about you,’ and I thought, ‘Why make a play about me?,’ which is the same thing I said about the film!" added Baldwin. "The cast are lovely, we’re friends. It was great. The theatre was full and I made friends with the audience. I am excited about going to London. There’s more people, so hurry up and get your ticket!’"