Rush, a new provocative comedy of modern manners by Willi Richards that was set to open in the West End this summer will be streamed online as a script-in-hand reading with Rupert Everett, Omari Douglas and Daniel Boyd, directed by Almeida Resident Director Joseph Winters. The cast will meet for the first time remotely online only moments before the reading begins and will together discover and bring to life a queer journey of romance, desire and infidelity.
Rush is a witty and irreverent debut play by Willi Richards, portraying a triangular relationship of three gay men. It is a debate play for anyone (whatever their gender or orientation) who has told a lie (even a small one) whilst in a relationship; to keep the peace, to make life easier, to protect people’s feelings or to uphold convention.
The play enraptured audiences during a short run at London’s King’s Head Theatre in 2018 and was set to open at Trafalgar Studios 2 in June, during Pride month, but was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The script reading will be filmed on Zoom later this month and a full HD version which is being recorded simultaneously will be released online to the public, with further details to be announced in due course. It will be recorded live with an audience of Terrence Higgins Trust supporters.
Executive Producer Stephen Daldry said: “Willi Richards has written a brilliant and provocative new play about the nature of love. Joseph Winters is among a new wave of young directors who will be changing our landscape when we are over this crisis. Rupert Everett is a theatrical force to be reckoned with. This is a new piece of work to shake us up.”
Director Joseph Winters said: “New plays are important – and they’re great fun – because nobody knows what’s going to happen next. They’re all about imagining different futures – and that’s exactly what we all need to do right now. Rush is a theatrical dispatch sent to the front row – what happens if you decide to live differently, to love differently?”
James Beeby of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have changed everything in just a few weeks but we’re thrilled to be teaming up with the creators of new play RUSH for this online reading. The money raised will ensure we can continue to be there for people living with HIV through our new At Home service offering a range of digital services, including free online counselling for people living with HIV.”
Rupert Everett takes the role of Man. He is an Olivier Award and Golden Globe Award nominated actor who rose to fame in Another Country which earned him his first BAFTA nomination. Since then he has played many leading roles including in the multi-award-winning film My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Dance With A Stranger, The Madness of King George and St Trinian’s. His stage credits include Blithe Spirit on Broadway, Pygmalion and The Judas Kiss in the West End, and most recently Uncle Vanya in which he starred in the title role and which marked his directorial stage debut.
Omari Douglas takes the role of Boy. Omari starred in the original stage production of Rush at the King’s Head in 2018. His recent credits include: Peter Pan, Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch Theatre), Tristan & Yseult (Kneehigh/Shakespeare’s Globe), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Annie Get Your Gun (Crucible, Sheﬃeld), When the Waters Recede (Theatre by the Lake), Hairspray’(Curve, Leicester/UK Tour), High Society (Old Vic), Elegies For Angels and Punks And Raging Queens (Criterion Theatre). He will also appear in Russell T Davies’ upcoming Channel 4 drama BOYS.
Daniel Boyd takes the part of Lad. Daniel trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His previous theatre includes Oppenheimer (RSC/Westend), The Shoemaker’s Holliday (RSC), 4000 Miles-for which he received an Evening Standard Theatre Award Nomination for Outstanding Newcomer (Bath Ustinov Studio/The Print Room), Romeo and Juliet (Headlong), Romeo and Juliet, Private Peaceful (Nottingham Playhouse), Much Ado about Nothing (the Faction), Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Bad Jews (Bath Theatre Royal/Tour). Television includes: Brave New World, Holby City, Horizon-Einstein, Silk, Misfits, Tatua, Richard II: The Hollow Crown. Film includes: On Chesil Beach, Tigerhouse.
Willi Richards, Writer, is a voice and text specialist working in conservatoires including RADA, CSSD and East 15. Willi also directs audio drama for BBC Radio 3 and 4, including acclaimed productions of Shakespeare and Strindberg. He has been a production voice coach at the RSC, National Theatre, Royal Opera House, ENO and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, and has worked with DV8, Candoco Dance Company and on Billy Elliot – The Musical. Willi has devised multilingual theatre on human rights for UN projects in conﬂict zones and undertaken British Council projects across south Asia.
Joseph Winters, Director, is Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre. As Director and Creative Producer, his previous work includes Bigamous (Vaults Festival, Soho Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe), The Canon (Underbelly, Edinburgh Fringe, UK Tour), Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian (Edinburgh Fringe), Peter Grimes (ADC Theatre), Love Handles: Footlights Tour Show 2015 (International Tour, inc. the Comedy Store London; Edinburgh Fringe; The Second City, Chicago; Upright Citizens Brigade, New York), Cabin Pressure (Corpus Playroom). As Assistant Director, his previous work includes Machinal (Almeida Theatre), Gloria (Hampstead Theatre), The Nose (Royal Opera House Youth Company), 46 Beacon (Trafalgar Studios) and G.I.A.N.T. (Mahogany Opera).
Roger James Elsgood, Producer is a producer, adapter and a documentary film maker. He has adapted and produced work by Anne Michaels, John Berger, Geoff Dyer, Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, Mani Sankar Mukerji, Vivienne Franzmann, Mike Hodges, Complicite, Amit Chaudhuri and Tacita Dean. He was recently commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to adapt and produce August Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’ as a re-imagined version for radio, which was recorded on location in Denmark with Sophie Grabol, Marie Bach Hansen and Lars Mikkelsen. Roger produces ‘On the Big Green Sofa with Mary Nightingale’ for the Royal Academy of Arts.
Rush is the debut production from In a Rush Productions Ltd led by producer Roger James Elsgood and Willi Richards. The Executive Producer is Stephen Daldry.
Photo credit: William Baker