As part of the current season of one-person plays, The Bridge is presenting the now sell-out runs of David Hare’s Beat the Devil and Inua Ellams’ and Fuel’s production of An Evening with an Immigrant. Today additional performances will go on sale for both as the season is extended to 7 November 2020. Next month two of Alan Bennett’ Talking Heads – Imelda Staunton in A Lady of Letters and Maxine Peake in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet – will visit Sheffield Theatres and Leeds Playhouse. In addition, Rochenda Sandall will perform Outside Dog also at Leeds Playhouse.
The Bridge’s programme beyond 7 November 2020 will be announced shortly.
BEAT THE DEVIL
Ralph Fiennes made his Bridge Theatre debut performing David Hare’s Beat the Devil, a new play written as a response to the author’s experience of contracting coronavirus. Nicholas Hytner directs with designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Jon Clark, sound by Gareth Fry and music by George Fenton.
On the same day that the UK government finally made the first of two decisive interventions that led to a conspicuously late lockdown, David Hare contracted Covid-19. Nobody seemed to know much about it then, and many doctors are not altogether sure they know much more today. Suffering a pageant of apparently random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness, which mix with fear, dream, honest medicine and dishonest politics to create a monologue – performed at The Bridge by Ralph Fiennes – of furious urgency and power.
AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT
Inua Ellams’ and Fuel’s production of An Evening with an Immigrant is written and performed by Ellams, also making his Bridge Theatre debut, with music selection by DJ Sid Mercutio.
Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in what is now considered by many to be Boko Haram territory, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London and starting work as a writer and graphic designer. Littered with poems, Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in what is now considered by many to be Boko Haram territory, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London and starting work as a writer and graphic designer. Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, Ellams will tell his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, directing an arts festival at his college in Dublin, performing solo shows at the National Theatre and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.
Following the television broadcast in June this year and the current run at the Bridge Theatre, two of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues, performed in a double bill, will play at Sheffield Theatres (9-11 November 2020) and Leeds Playhouse (12-14 November 2020). In addition, on 7 November 2020 Rochenda Sandall will perform Outside Dog also at Leeds Playhouse.
Imelda Staunton will perform A Lady of Letters directed by Jonathan Kent and Maxine Peake will perform Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet directed by Sarah Frankcom. The original Bridge Theatre productions were designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Jon Clark, video designs by Luke Halls, sound by Gareth Fry and music by George Fenton.
The Bridge re-opened last month with a capacity of 250 seats and thorough safety measures presenting a season of one-person plays in repertory. Eight of the actors (Monica Dolan, Tamsin Greig, Lesley Manville, Lucian Msamati, Maxine Peake, Rochenda Sandall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Imelda Staunton) from the series of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads which the London Theatre Company made for BBC One this summer reprised their performances on The Bridge stage.
For the performances at the Bridge and in Sheffield and Leeds Alan Bennett has generously waived his royalties.
Earlier this summer, he and the actors, directors, producers and senior crew of the new BBC1 series of Talking Heads donated their fees to NHS Charities Together – generating over £1m that will be used to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients as they continue to tackle the Covid crisis and its aftermath.
Three one-person plays – An Evening with an Immigrant, Quarter Life Crisis and Nine Lives – from Inua Ellams, Yolanda Mercy and Zodwa Nyoni run alongside them, the first two played by their authors, the third by Lladel Bryant.
To book tickets visit www.bridgetheatre.co.uk
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan