Rehearsals start today for Jack Absolute Flies Again, a riotous and comedic new version of Sheridan’s The Rivals, co-written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Emma) that will play in the Olivier theatre from 2 July.
July 1940. After an aerial dog fight, Pilot Officer Jack Absolute flies home to win the heart of his old flame, Lydia Languish. Back on British soil, Jack’s advances soon turn to anarchy when the young heiress demands to be loved on her own, very particular, terms.
Peter Forbes (Follies) joins the cast as Anthony Absolute alongside the previously announced Laurie Davidson (Cats) as Jack Absolute, Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek) as Mrs Malaprop, Natalie Simpson (Three Sisters) as Lydia Languish, Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale) as Dudley Scunthorpe and Kerry Howard (Him & Her) as Lucy. James Corrigan, Theo Cowan, Shailan Gohil, Millie Hikasa, George Kemp, Joanne McGuinness, Jordan Metcalfe, Akshay Sharan, Tim Steed, Geoffrey Towers, Shona White and Helena Wilson also join the company.
Director Emily Burns said: “Jack Absolute is a delightfully silly and exuberant refashioning of The Rivals that sends Sheridan’s play barrel-rolling into the Battle of Britain, and the adrenalised hedonism of a summer of life-or-death love. Richard and Oli’s adaptation is a dream to work on – fresh, sharp, joyous and full of heart. I can’t wait to get started.”
Set and costume design is by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, composer is Paul Englishby, sound design by Paul Arditti and video and projection design by Jeff Sugg. Physical comedy director is Toby Park and choreography is by Lizzi Gee. Staff director is Cara Nolan.
Jack Absolute Flies Again will be broadcast to cinemas via NT Live on 6 October 2022.