Toby Stephens (Oslo, Lost in Space) and Claire Skinner (Outnumbered, The Father) will make their long awaited returns to the West End stage this autumn in Peter Nichols’ (Privates on Parade, Passion Play) funny and moving masterpiece A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
Directed by Simon Evans (Killer Joe, Arturo Ui), this revival of Nichols’ acclaimed bittersweet comedy reunites two of the greatest actors of their generation. The stars, who last worked together 18 years ago on the award winning BBC TV drama ‘Perfect Strangers’, will now be performing on stage together for the very first time. Opening at Trafalgar Studios on Saturday 21 September.
Bri (Stephens) and Sheila (Skinner) have been struggling to care for their disabled 10-year old daughter Josephine ever since she was born. Nicknaming her “Joe Egg”, they lose themselves in fantasy games and black humour to help cope with the struggle of their daily reality. This remarkable story challenges all our assumptions on the limits of love and the power of family.
Inspired by Nichols’ own experience of bringing up his disabled daughter in the 1960s, Joe Egg was one of the ground-breaking plays of its generation and the issues faced by two parents in this bittersweet comedy still resonate with audiences today, breaking your heart one minute and filling it with warmth the next. Now this startlingly funny and celebrated play returns to the West End for a limited season until Saturday 30 November. Further casting will be announced soon.
Toby Stephens said: “I’m thrilled to be part of a revival of this fantastic play. Reading it for the first time, I couldn’t believe that it had been written in the late sixties; it felt so vivid, dark and anarchically funny. The play still feels very raw and relevant, today. I’m very glad to be working with Claire Skinner again after quite a long interval – some 18 years! I think she is a very fine actor and I was really excited to hear that she wanted to do the play as well.”
Claire Skinner said: “I’m really looking forward to coming back to the West End with this complex, thought provoking and funny play and I’m also looking forward to working with Toby again after 18 years!”
Simon Evans said: “At a time when the act of living well from day to day seems tougher than ever, I can’t help but resonate with the characters in Joe Egg: displaying such wit, weakness, cruelty and courage as they struggle on. I’ve been a fan of Toby and Claire for years and the opportunity to explore Bri and Sheila with actors of their calibre, and share Peter’s seminal play again with a London audience, is such an honour.”