News: Casting revealed for Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis

Casting has been confirmed for Charlotte Jones’ (Humble Boy – National Theatre)  comedy, Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis at Park Theatre. Winner of the 1998 Pearson Best Play Award, this marks the play’s twenty-first anniversary and first ever London run. The production stars Sioned Jones, Charlie Bence, Kellie Batchelor, Andrew P Stephen, Matt Lim and Jessica Forrest and is directed by Robert Wolstenholme.

Josie’s tired. Tired of the Bolton winter. Tired of looking after daydreaming daughter Brenda-Marie. Tired of working as a dominatrix to make ends meet. Too tired to celebrate turning forty.

But her favourite client Lionel insists on a birthday party and, knowing Josie’s a huge Elvis fan, invites a very special guest. Just as hips start swinging, somebody no-one expected arrives and skeletons come tumbling out of the closet…

At its heart this hilarious and heartfelt comedy explores finding a place to fit in. Sweet yet saucy, it’s the perfect ‘adults only’ alternative Christmas treat.

Sioned Jones plays Martha. She has appeared in 13, Women Beware Women, All’s Well That Ends Well, Oedipus and Never So Good (National Theatre) and in A Woman of No Importance, Shakespeare In Love, Shadowlands, The Letter, Glorious! and Tolstoy (West End). Numerous other theatre credits include an Offie nominated performance in Ghost About the House (King’s Head), Cruella De Vil in the musical of 101 Dalmatians (Wellingborough), Lettice & Lovage (Menier) and Henry VI (Wales Millennium Centre). Television appearances include: Cadfael (ITV), Family Affairs (Channel 5) and The Bill (ITV).

Charlie Bence plays Brenda-Marie, Josie’s daughter who has learning difficulties. Charlie graduated from Mountview in summer 2019. Before that, they appeared in Our Benny (Liverpool Empire), as the Wicked Queen in Snow White (Stiwt Theatre, Wrexham) and in Beauty and the Beast (Chateau Chalain, France).

Kellie Batchelor plays Josie. Kellie is co-founder of Signal Theatre Company for whom she’s played Phyllis in Sellotape Sisters, Jackie in Shang-a-Lang, Sarah in A Place at the Table, Cherry in The Night Before Christmas, Cath in Here and Amanda in Private Lives, all of which she also co-produced. Other theatre includes: Somewhere Over The Westway, Ready, Steady, Date and Octopus Pie (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Under the Blue Sky and Closer (Soho Theatre Studio), Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Canal Café), The Snow Queen (Chelsea Centre) and Kingdom on Earth (Landor).

Andrew P Stephen plays Lionel. Andrew has appeared in Elling, Life x3, Absurd Person Singular and The Woman in Black (West End). Other theatre includes: The Acedian Pirates (Theatre 503), Foreplay (The King’s Head), Madame Bovary (Hope) and UK tours of Gasping, Life x3, Arsenic & Old Lace, Strangers on a Train, Funny Peculiar, Absurd Person Singular, Duet For One and The Woman in Black. Andrew is also a regular with the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, appearing in thirteen seasons, playing Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago, Petruchio, Benedick, Puck, Bottom, Shylock, Angelo, Pericles, Leontes, Prospero, Antony and Richard III.

Matt Lim plays Timothy. He recently appeared in the Royal Exchange/Birmingham Rep touring production From Shore to Shore and in Break of Noon (Finborough Theatre). He’s appeared on TV in Doctors (BBC) and 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Indigo Films) and in the film A Confusion of Tongues (Grand Independent). Matt is also a comedian and writer, whose first full play It’s Complicated was shortlisted for the Cambridge Footlights’ Harry Porter Prize and enjoyed successful runs in both Edinburgh and London; he also wrote Way Back, a poignant piece about suicide (Pleasance London).

The cast is completed by Jessica Forrest who plays Louise. Jessica made her acting debut playing Leanne Holiday in Hollyoaks (Channel 4), staying for over three years. Other TV includes: The Cruise and Coronation Street (ITV), as well as regular character Clare on the popular children’s show Dani’s Castle (CBBC). In theatre, Jessica recently toured in Chip Shop Chips, an immersive production set in a fish and chip shop. As a fan of the Edinburgh Fringe, she’s also found herself writing and performing as half of the comedy double act Trolley Girls.

Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis runs at the Park Theatre from 11 December 2019 – 4 January 2020.

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