Haydn Oakley and Amy Booth-Steel star in this new show with a 21-strong team taking to the stage this spring in the new touring co-production of Betty Blue Eyes.
Fresh from his role with The Book of Mormon, Haydn Oakley stars as Gilbert Chilvers. Amy Booth-Steel, currently appearing in the National Theatre’s The Light Princess, will play Gilbert’s wife, determined social-climber Joyce Chilvers.
Set in 1947 austerity Britain, Betty Blue Eyes tells the story of humble chiropodist Gilbert Chilvers and his ferocious wife Joyce. When an invitation to the social event of the year fails to materialise, the Chilvers resolve that they must do whatever it takes to get their fair share of the banquet’s centrepiece – a rations-busting illegal pork roast!
Haydn’s extensive theatre credits include Wonderful Town at Manchester Royal Exchange, The Secret Garden at Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Passion at Donmar Warehouse. He has also appeared in Wicked and Spamalot.
In addition to The Light Princess, Amy’s stage credits include the National Theatre’s production of She Stoops To Conquer, the UK tour of One Man, Two Guvnors and the role of La Rosa in Sister Act at The London Palladium. Amy also made the final 12 in the BBC’s search for Nancy in I’d Do Anything.
Amy commented: “Joyce is such a well rounded character as she has strength and wit, yet also shows moments of real vulnerability and warmth. She has some fantastic comic scenes with Gilbert and Mother Dear which are absolutely hilarious. She’s so spunky! Nothing gets past Joyce. It’s going to be such a wonderful challenge taking on this role and putting a fresh spin on it.”
Haydn commented: “I saw the original production of Betty in London and had a fantastic evening. It has real heart and some fantastic musical numbers. I’m looking forward to giving Betty a new life with the company – I know the work we put into it is going to produce something special. I can already tell from the audition that I’m going to enjoy working with the director Daniel Buckroyd.”
Playing Mother Dear, Gilbert’s interfering mother-in-law, is Sally Mates.
Sally Mates was in the original RSC and West End cast of Les Miserables. She appeared in the 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, as well as the 2012 film. She has also performed in the West End productions of Godspell and Fiddler On The Roof, as well as on popular TV shows Midsomer Murders and Wire In The Blood.
When asked what attracted her to the role, Sally said: “Mother Dear is such a wonderful character. She’s terrified of losing her marbles and being put away – possibly in a sty! She’s bonkers and incredibly funny. I love music, comedy and animals so Betty Blue Eyes is the perfect mix for me.”
Director Daniel Buckroyd said: “Betty Blue Eyes is the biggest show the Mercury has produced in many years. Supporting Amy, Haydn and Sally will be 18 experienced actors, singers, dancers and musicians from the West End and the best of regional theatre. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to assemble such a fantastic multi-talented company of performers for the regional premiere.”
Choreography is provided by Andrew Wright, winner of the 2013 WhatsOnStage Award for Best Choreographer, and nominated at the 2012 Olivier Awards and the 2011 Broadway World Awards.
The Mercury Theatre’s Richard Reeday is Musical Director. Richard’s previous theatre credits at the Mercury include The History Boys, Quadrophenia, and The Hired Man, the latter earned Richard a nomination for Regional Musical Direction Award in the Broadway World Awards 2013.
Betty Blue Eyes opens on March 14th at the Mercury Theatre before embarking on a 5 month tour across England in a new co-production between Mercury Theatre Colchester, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Salisbury Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Director Daniel Buckroyd, Choreographer Andrew Wright, Musical Director Richard Reeday, Designer Sara Perks, Lighting Designer Mark Dymock, Sound Designer Adam McCready, Casting Director Anne Vosser, Dialect Coach Mary Howland, Assistant Choreographer Rebecca Louis.
Daniel Buckroyd is Artistic Director of the Mercury Theatre Colchester, having joined the theatre in 2012 from New Perspectives where he had been Artistic Director since 2003.
Amy Booth Steel as Joyce Chilvers
Haydn Oakley as Gilbert Chilvers
Sally Mates as Mother Dear
Laura Baldwin as Veronica / Ensemble
Adam C Booth as Mr Lockwood / Mr Barraclough / Ensemble
Ricky Butt as Mrs Allardyce / Mrs Tillbrook / Ensemble
Rebecca Louis as Mrs Metcalf / Ensemble
Kate Robson-Stuart as Mrs Lester / Princess Elizabeth / Ensemble and Violin
Oliver Izod as BBC Announcer / Mr Nuttall / Ensemble and Accordion / Violin
Joe Maxwell as Mr Metcalf / Prince Phillip / Mr Cuncliffe / Ensemble
Tobias Beer as Mr Wormold / Ensemble and Violin
Jenni Bowden as Mrs Turnbull / Mrs Cuncliffe / Ensemble and Clarinet / Saxophone
Rachel Knowles as Mrs Lockwood / Mrs Roach / Ensemble and Trumpet
Lauren Logan as Kit / Betty Puppeteer / Ensemble
Matt Harrop as Mr Allardyce / Ensemble
Kit Benjamin as Dr Swaby / Ensemble and Violin
Anthony Ray as Mr Atlee / Sergeant Noble / Reg Bowen / Mr Sutcliffe / Ensemble
Richard Reeday Musical Director / Piano
James Newton Drums / Percussion
Alex Smith Trumpet / Cornet / Horn
Sandy Suchodolski Double Bass
Book by Ron Cowen & Daniel Lipman
Music and lyrics by George Stiles & Anthony Drewe
Based on the HANDMADE film ‘A Private Function’ and the original story by Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray
Adapted from the screenplay by Alan Bennett
Orchestrations by William David Brohn
Dance and Vocal Arrangements by George Stiles
Originally produced in London by Cameron Mackintosh
This production is licensed by Josef Weinberger ltd on behalf of Music Theatre International and Cameron Mackintosh ltd.
14 March – 5 April
Mercury Theatre Colchester
Tickets: 01206 573948
15 – 19 April
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
Tickets: 01473 295 900
24 April – 17 May
Tickets: 01722 320 333
27 – 31 May
Norwich Theatre Royal
Tickets: 01603 630000
3 – 7 June Oxford Playhouse
Tickets: 01865 305305
12 June – 5 July
West Yorkshire Playhouse
Tickets: 0113 213 7700
9 July – 2 August
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse
Tickets: 0151 709 4776
Wednesday 5th February 2014