The Upstart Crow returns to London’s West End later this month for a strictly limited 10-week season at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
Starring David Mitchell as Will and Gemma Whelan as Kate, the production opens on Friday 23 September and runs until Saturday 3 December 2022.
The production originally opened at the Gielgud Theatre in February 2020 to an array of glowing reviews and sold-out performances. Then Covid hit and theatres were forced to close. Now one plague and an Olivier Award nomination later, this all-new comedy written by Ben Elton and directed by Sean Foley is back.
Mitchell will once more don the bald wig and bardish coddling pouch in his iconic characterisation of Will Shakespeare. Also bringing their TV characters to life on stage once more are Gemma Whelan (DI Ray, Game of Thrones, Gentleman Jack) as Kate, Helen Monks (Raised by Wolves / Inside No. 9) as Susanna and Rob Rouse (Grownups) as Bottom
Reprising their stage roles are Jason Callender (Shadow and Bone, 4 O’Clock Club) as Arragon, Danielle Phillips (Masters of the Air, Evening Standard Future Award 2021) as Judith and Reice Weathers (Story of My Life, Ted Lasso) as Mr Whiskers.
New to the cast are Olivier Award-winner John Gordon Sinclair (Gregory’s Girl, Traces) as Dr John Hall, Gloria Onitiri (Grace Jones in Urban Myths, The Bodyguard, West End run) as Desiree, and Stewart Wright (Smack the Pony, Love and Marriage) as Burbage. The cast is completed by Andrew Hodges, Dedun Omole and Annabel Smith.
Ben Elton says: “Besides Will and Kate many of the other characters from the TV sitcom feature in this new play. Hilarious Helen Monks is back as Shakespeare’s grumpy daughter Susanna. Top comic Rob Rouse will once again have us laughing at his Bottom! Gotta say, the brilliant new actors who are joining Upstart Crow for the first time will have to really pull up their puffling pants if they don’t want to get upstaged!”
‘Tis 1605 and England’s greatest playwright is in trouble. Will Shakespeare has produced just two plays; Measure for Measure, which according to King James was incomprehensible bollingbrokes by any measure, and All’s Well That End’s Well which didn’t even end well. Will desperately needs to maketh a brilliant new play to bolster his reputation and avoid being cast aside by King and country. But Will’s personal life is encountering more dramatic twists and turns than any theatrical story he can conjure. How the futtock can a Bard be expected to find a plot for a play whilst his daughters run amok and his house is used as refuge for any old waif and stray. As time runs out, can Will hold on to his dream of being recognised now and for all time, as indisputably the greatest writer that ever lived, or will family woes thwart Will’s chances of producing his masterwork?