Edward Baker-Duly stars as Calloway in the world première of the new musical, The Third Man, Graham Greene’s brilliant story – which was made into a landmark film and published as a novella – now comes to the stage in new musical written by Christopher Hampton with music by George Fenton, lyrics by Don Black and directed by Trevor Nunn.
The full cast alongside Edward Baker-Duly are; Simon Bailey (Crabbit), Natalie Dunne (Anna), Derek Griffiths (The Porter), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Paine), Rachel Izen (The Porter’s Wife), Gary Milner (Kurtz), Harry Morrison (Popescu), Sam Underwood (Holly), and Alan Vicary (Dr Winkel), Chanice Alexander-Burnett, Craig Bartley, Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Leah Harris, Aly Merali, Tom Sterling, Samantha Thomas, and Tim Walton who complete the ensemble.
Trevor Nunn’s production of The Third Man opens at Menier Chocolate Factory on 19 June, with previews from 10 June, and runs until 9 September. Public booking is now open.
The Third Man is part of a season of three musicals, and is followed by the world première of Close Up – The Twiggy Musical; and continuing its long association with the work of Stephen Sondheim, the season ends with Pacific Overtures.
You’re starring in The Third Man at Menier Chocolate Factory, what can you tell us about this new musical?
The Chocolate Factory is producing the World Premier musical adaptation of the 1949 film The Third Man, which is widely recognised as the best example of British Film Noir. It is a thriller set against the backdrop of post was Vienna involving death, corruption and further intrigue. The book and lyrics are by Don Black and Christopher Hampton and music by George Fenton. Trevor Nunn is at the helm, directing an incredible ensemble of actors led by Sam Underwood and Natalie Dunne.
What was it about George Fenton, Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s adaptation that made you keen to be involved?
Without question the creative collaboration by Don Black, Christopher Hampton and George Fenton would excite any actor to be part of a project like this. The wealth of experience and success that each brings to this production undeniably makes this something very special. And this became quite clear from first reading the script.
How well do you think they have captured the spirit of Graham Greene’s original story?
It is an extraordinary challenge to adapt what is essentially a cinematic work of art with all the hallmarks that make film noir. For example Dutch Angles and shadows and silhouettes in black and white, containing the restless unease and suspicion that the story plays out in. Interestingly, a film that in itself is not an adaptation of a book but of a dedicated film story treatment by Graham Green.
The opening number sets the scene of war torn Vienna, devastation and hunger everywhere and as you continue reading it’s impossible to not feel like your revisiting the original film in your minds eye. I read Graham Greene’s novelette after I first read our script and the feel is so very similar.
George Fenton’s music sounds like it always belonged to The Third Man and at times seems to echo the original film score. Paul Farnsworth’s ingenious design has turned the Menier into the monochrome, deconstructed rubble landscape of postwar Vienna and yet still able create for example the likes of the Casanova Club and the Sacher Hotel.
You’re playing Calloway, what are you enjoying most about the role and what do you think will be the biggest challenge?
What is interesting about this role, is he is the investigator, the detective if you like. He is an officer in the British Military Police having served in the recent world war and is now stationed in Vienna to deal with aftermath. Complexities of an ever changing weekly caretaker authority, corruption, and whatever desperate crimes present themselves on a daily basis is what motivates Major Calloway. Of course I enjoy the period and the opportunity of living in the type of roles that are so synonymous with war time films of the 40’s and 50’s. Good overcoming evil with justice prevailing. The challenge is to make sure the audience understands how heinous the crime is that underpins the whole story and that is relayed by Major Calloway.
What’s it been like working with director Trevor Nunn?
This is my third outing with Trevor Nunn. He is always so incredibly prepared, giving us a rich fabric of context both historically and from the writer’s perspective in which to live. Although it may seem obvious, but with Trevor I am constantly reminded of how important the words are, sung or spoken. It’s easy to get caught up in the sentiment of a section, but analysing the choice and meaning of the words unlocks greater understanding.
His detail in all aspects of the production. He will always have an answer for any question you may have. He has great energy and would dispense with tea breaks if he were allowed to such is his desire to keep pushing on. Even though so much is serious work we all laugh a great deal together as well. It is a privilege to be in a rehearsal room with him.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see The Third Man?
Come and see this world premiere of an iconic film brought to the stage by the very best creatives and an awesome cast. Magic happens at the Menier Chocolate Factory and this will be no exception.