Philip Labey appears as Peter in the world premiere of Samson Hawkins’ new play Village Idiot directed by Stratford East Artistic Director Nadia Fall, in a co-production from Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon.
The full cast includes Mark Benton as Kevin, Maximilian Fairley as Harry, Philip Labey as Peter, Joseph Langdon as Liam, Eileen Nicholas as Barbara and Faye Wiggan as Debbie.
A pioneering initiative, Ramps on the Moon is a consortium of theatres which aim to enrich stories and the ways in which they are told by putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. Village Idiot will mark the first new original play staged by the Ramps on the Moon project.
All performances of Village Idiot are Captioned and will be in a Relaxed Environment. There will also be designated Socially Distanced & Masked, BSL Interpreted and Audio Described performances.
You’re appearing in Village Idiot, what can you tell us about this brand new play?
It’s a moving, funny, irreverent play about a village being split in two by a high-speed railway line. There’s a love story, family feuds and a very eclectic talent show.
What was it about Samson Hawkins’ writing that made you keen to be involved in the production?
When I first read the play I was laughing out loud to myself like a naughty schoolboy. Samson writes such brilliant naturalistic dialogue. I think it’s very rare to find a writer, particularly a new writer, that can capture exactly how people speak, and also is such a great technician when it comes to comedy.
Tell us a little more about Ramps on the Moon, and what’s different for you as an actor in the way this production is being staged?
Ramps on the Moon is fantastic. It’s a collaborative partnership of six theatres that aims to enrich the theatrical experience by including more deaf and disabled people on and off the stage.
Working with Ramps has been fantastic, we’ve had a bit longer to rehearse – which is always appreciated, and a slightly more relaxed performance schedule.
You’re playing Peter, what are you enjoying most about this character?
Peter is a somewhat of an antagonist and playing the “bad guy” is always fun. I also get to dress up in a lot of fun costumes, particularly a drag number – that might be my favourite bit!
And what do you think will be the biggest challenge?
The play is such a full bodied show – we go from comedy to tragedy, from vaudeville singing and dancing to very naturalistic intimate moments quite quickly. I think keeping nimble and fully leaning into all of those different moments will be challenging.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Village Idiot?
It’s a raucous, fun show with massive heart. I don’t think there’s anything on at the moment that’s quite like it. Enjoy 🙂