Casting is complete for Ben Elton’s stage adaptation of the BBC TV sitcom Upstart Crow, which will begin previews February 7, 2020, at the Gielgud Theatre prior to an official opening February 17.
As he did in the TV series, David Mitchell will again play Will Shakespeare. Directed by Olivier winner Sean Foley, the 11-week engagement continues through April 25.
Joining the previously announced Mitchell and Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones and Gentleman Jack) as Kate will be Helen Monks as Susanna, Rob Rouse as Bottom, Steve Speirs as Burbage, and Mark Heap as a new character, Dr. John Hall, with Danielle Phillips, Jason Callender, and Rachel Summers.
Upstart Crow is set in 1605 and England’s greatest playwright is in trouble. King James has been on the throne for two years, and Shakespeare has produced just two plays. Those who work at the pleasure of the King live in constant fear of his favor. The Bard desperately needs to come up with a brilliant new plot, but he is finding it impossible to focus on finding one.
In a statement, Elton said, “Besides Will and Kate, many of the other characters from the TV sitcom feature in this new play, and I’m delighted that they will all be played by the original actors. Steve Speirs returns as Burbage the Actor, no doubt relishing the extra opportunity that live theatre offers for serious shouting and strutting. Hilarious Helen Monks is back as Shakespeare’s grumpy daughter Susanna. Top comic Rob Rouse will once again have us laughing at his Bottom, and the show-stopping Mark Heap, who played Robert Greene, is returnED in villainous guise! Gotta say, the brilliant new actors who are joining Upstart Crow for the first time will have to really pull up their puffling pants if they don’t want to get upstaged!”