The Original Theatre Company and Salisbury Playhouse in association with Eastbourne Theatres will present the national tour of Emlyn Williams’s psychological thriller, NIGHT MUST FALL, directed by Luke Sheppard and starring Gwen Taylor as Mrs Bramson. The tour will begin at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne on 19th August, with a National press night on Wednesday 7th September at Salisbury Playhouse.
Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free. Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Gwen is currently playing Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre. Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley Valentine, Top Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).
Joining Gwen Taylor as Inspector Belsize will be Daragh O’Malley, best known for his role as Patrick Harper in the long-running television series Sharpe. After a 12-year absence from the stage, O’Malley returned to the British stage in 2012, playing Father Jack in the Original Theatre Company’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa. In 2014, he played Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, for which he was nominated for an MTA Best Actor Award and The Stage selected his performance as one of the Top Five Performances in UK Theatre in 2014.
Also in the cast are Alasdair Buchan as Hubert, Anne Odeke as Nurse Libby, Mandi Symonds as Mrs Terence and Melissa Vaughan as Dora. Further casting to be announced.
Director Luke Sheppard most recently directed the Olivier Award-winning production of In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse), for which he was nominated for Best Director at the Whatsonstage Awards. His other directing credits include Stig of the Dump (UK Tour), Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13 ¾ (Curve, Leicester) and the forthcoming European premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher (Royal & Derngate, Northampton). Luke is the Associate Director of Matilda (Stratford-Upon- Avon, West End, Broadway).
Luke Sheppard said, “It’s a privilege to direct this extraordinary play just over eighty years since the first performance. It’s a gripping murder mystery with delightfully dark characters. I’m looking forward to audiences around the country discovering all the chills and thrills this rarely produced classic holds in store.”
When charming, smooth-talking Dan arrives at old Mrs Bramson’s remote woodland home, he soon ingratiates his way into her life and that of her niece, Olivia. But when a local woman goes missing and is later found murdered, Olivia begins to suspect her aunt’s new private assistant. She resolves to find out the truth.
Emlyn Williams wrote NIGHT MUST FALL in 1935 and played the lead role in the first stage production. The play was noted for its exploration of the killer’s complex psychological state, a step forward for its genre. Robert Montgomery starred in the film version in 1937 and Albert Finney in the 1964 re-make.
Alastair Whatley, Artistic Director of The Original Theatre Company, said, “We are delighted to be working with Salisbury Playhouse and Eastbourne Theatres to present this major revival of Emlyn Williams’s wickedly good thriller, NIGHT MUST FALL. We could not be more pleased to be welcoming a first class creative team led by director Luke Sheppard, furthering our ambition to produce the highest quality regional theatre and sharing it with our venue partners and audiences across the United Kingdom.”
Gareth Machin, Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse, said, “Salisbury Playhouse is delighted to be co-producing with Original Theatre Company, ensuring our work and our outstanding production values are seen and celebrated by an ever wider audience. As ever, we are thrilled to be working with some of the most exciting young creative talents in the UK who we know will breathe new life into this fine psychological thriller.”
NIGHT MUST FALL will be designed by David Woodhead, with sound and music by Harry Blake and lighting by Howard Hudson. The national tour is produced by Alastair Whatley and Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company and Sebastian Warrack for Salisbury Playhouse, in association with Eastbourne Theatres.
Age guidance 12+
19 August – 3 September Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
6 – 24 September Salisbury Playhouse
28 September – 1 October The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
17 – 22 October New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
1 – 5 November Palace Theatre, Southend
8 – 12 November Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
15 – 19 November York Theatre Royal