News: Casting Update for Bach & Sons at the Bridge Theatre

Full casting has been announced for the world premiere of Nina Raine’s Bach & Sons as rehearsals begin.

Joining Simon Russell Beale who will play Johann Sebastian Bach in the world premiere of Nina Raine’s Bach & Sons are Samuel Blenkin as Carl, Pandora Colin as Maria Barbara, Ruth Lass as Katharina, Douggie McMeekin as Wilhelm, Racheal Ofori as Anna Magdalena and Pravessh Rana as Frederick the Great.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner, performances at The Bridge are from 23 June – 9 September 2021 with opening night on 29 June 2021. The associate director is James Cousins, with set designs by Vicki Mortimer, costumes designed by Khadija Raza, lighting by Jon Clark, sound by Gareth Fry and music supervised by George Fenton.

Johann Sebastian Bach, irascible and turbulent, writes music of sensuous delight for his aristocratic patrons, and gives voice to his deep religious faith in music for the church. He’s touchy, he’s fabulously rude, he has high standards (he stabs a bassoonist for playing badly) and he’s constantly in trouble with his employers. Music is the family business – both his wives and all his children are musicians. His eldest son, Wilhelm, is brilliant, chaotic and paralysed by his father’s genius. Tense, industrious Carl is less talented than his father but more successful. As the years pass, their gripping family drama provokes furious arguments about love, God and above all music. What is it for – to give pleasure, like a cup of coffee in the sun, or to reveal the divine order that gives life its meaning? Nina Raine’s play is an anthem to the art that draws us together and sings of our common humanity.

Simon Russell Beale made his Bridge debut last year in A Christmas Carol, also directed by Nicholas Hytner whom he has previously collaborated with on The Alchemist, Much Ado About Nothing, Major Barbara, Collaborators, London Assurance and Timon of Athens all at the National Theatre. In 2019 he was seen in The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre and in the West End and later reprised the role in 2020 on Broadway. As well as being the recipient of multiple theatre awards, in 2003 he was made a CBE for his services to the Arts and in 2019 he was made a Knight Bachelor.

Samuel Blenkin’s theatre credits include The Ocean at the End of the Lane for the National Theatre and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. His film credits include The French Dispatch and Misbehaviour. On television his credits include Atlanta, Dracula, Pennyworth, Peaky Blinders, Grantchester and Doctors.

Pandora Colin’s theatre credits include 8 Hotels for Chichester Festival Theatre, Our Town for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar for Sheffield Theatres, The Vote for the Donmar Warehouse and After the Dance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Women of Troy and Some Trace of Her all for the National Theatre. On film her credits include Earwig and The Witch, Aftermath and The Lady in the Van. On television her credits include Master of None, Chernobyl, Delicious, Penny Dreadful and Toast of London.

Ruth Lass’ theatre credits include Crooked Dances for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Equus for Theatre Royal Stratford East and Great Apes for the Arcola Theatre. She also played Ariel in The Tempest at the Barbican and Gertrude in Hamlet at Riverside Studios. Her film credits include Disobedience, The Book of Gabrielle, Indian Summer/ Alive and Kicking and Mad Cows. Her television credits include Strike: Lethal White, Silent Witness, Houdini and Doyle and White Teeth.

Douggie McMeekin’s theatre credits include Dirty Crusty at the Yard Theatre, The Night Before Christmas for Southward Playhouse, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Young Vic and Wendy & Peter for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film credits include Nasty Women, The Hustle and The Call Up. On television his credits include The Beast Must Die, Harlots, Chernobyl, Traitors and The Crown.

Writer and performer Racheal Ofori’s theatre credits include Rare Earth Mettle for the Royal Court Theatre, Three Sisters for the National Theatre for which she received an Ian Charleson special commendation, Pygmalion for Headlong and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick and The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare’s Globe. Her one-woman shows are Portrait, which played to sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe prior to a UK Tour and So Many Reasons which ran at Soho Theatre. Her television credits include Sliced, In The Long Run, Treadstone and Entreprice. Ofori’s film credits include Artemis Fowl, Guns Akimbo and Ready Player One.

Pravessh Rana is making his professional stage debut in Bach & Sons having graduated from LAMDA. His television credits include The Serpent and Foundation.

Nina Raine’s other plays include Stories, Consent, Tiger Country, Rabbit and Tribes as well as an adaptation of The Drunks by the Durnenkov Brothers. She was shortlisted for the 2004 Verity Bargate Award and awarded the 2006 Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Most Promising Playwright for her debut play Rabbit. Tribes won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play and has been performed in eighteen different countries. Raine was nominated for a Susan Blackburn Smith Award for Stories and Consent.

Nicholas Hytner co-founded London Theatre Company with Nick Starr. For the Bridge Theatre he has directed Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Ladies, Beat the Devil, The Shrine, Bed Among the Lentils and A Christmas Carol. Previously he was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015. His book Balancing Acts is published by Jonathan Cape.

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