The National Theatre today announced that Bijan Sheibani’s (Barber Shop Chronicles, Dance Nation) production of A Taste of Honey, the remarkable taboo-breaking 1950s play written by Shelagh Delaney when she was just 19, will transfer to the West End immediately following a nine-week UK tour.
A Taste of Honey will play a limited 12-week run at Trafalgar Studios from 5 December in a co-production with Trafalgar Theatre Productions, with an opening night on Monday 9 December. Tickets will go on sale to the general public from 11 October.
Jodie Prenger (Oliver!, Shirley Valentine, Annie, Abigail’s Party UK tour), leads the cast as Helen, with Gemma Dobson as Jo, Durone Stokes as Jimmie, Stuart Thompson as Geoffrey, and Tom Varey as Peter. They are joined by understudies Liam Bessell, Katy Clayton, and Claire Eden.
A Taste of Honey, which returns to the West End for the first time in 60 years, is designed by Hildegard Bechtler, who collaborated with Sheibani on the NT’s 2014 Lyttelton Theatre production. This production is reimagined in an exciting new staging featuring original compositions – influenced by blues and soul music – by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, and rearranged songs from the jazz era, performed live by an on stage three-piece band.
A Taste of Honey offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived and restless world, against the backdrop of working-class life in post-war Salford.
When her mother Helen runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with Jimmie, a sailor who promises to marry her, before he heads for the seas. Art student Geof moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until, misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.
Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the NT said, ‘We opened the NT tour of A Taste of Honey at The Lowry in Salford last week and it was very special to be able to take Shelagh Delaney’s beloved play home. It now feels very fitting to return this important play to the West End for the first time in 60 years, following its tour around the UK. After the success of Nine Night at Trafalgar Studios, we look forward to partnering with Trafalgar Theatre Productions to introduce new audiences in London to this classic.’
A Taste of Honey opened at The Lowry, Salford and is playing at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh this week before visiting the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (1 – 5 October); Richmond Theatre (7 – 12 October); Grand Opera House, Belfast (15 – 19 October); Leicester Curve (22 – 26 October); Theatre Royal, Bath (28 October – 2 November); Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton (5 – 9 November); and the Norwich Theatre Royal (12 – 16 November) before arriving in the West End.