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Full casting announced for Red Velvet at the Garrick Theatre

Adrian Lester to star In Red Velvet.
Adrian Lester to star In Red Velvet. Photo: Hugo Glendinning.

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company has announced the full cast for Red Velvet, the third production in the inaugural Plays at the Garrick season. The production, which originally premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in 2012 before transferring to St Ann’s Warehouse in New York in 2014, will play at the Garrick Theatre from 23rd January until 27th February 2016. Red Velvet is written by Lolita Chakrabarti with direction by Indhu Rubasingham and stars Adrian Lester as Ira Aldridge.

The full cast includes: Ayesha Antoine (Connie), Simon Chandler (Bernard Warde/Terence), Alexander Cobb (Henry Forrester/Casimir), Mark Edel-Hunt (Charles Kean), Emun Elliott (Pierre Laporte), Charlotte Lucas (Ellen Tree), Caroline Martin (Halina Wozniak/Margaret Aldridge) and Amy Morgan (Betty Lovell).

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre?

Ayesha Antoine has previously appeared on stage in A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, The House That Will Not Stand (Tricycle), The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange), We Are Proud to Present… (Bush), Tartuffe (Birmingham Rep), Absurd Person Singular, My Wonderful Day, Surprises, (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Madblud, FamilyMan, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood (all Theatre Royal Stratford East), Big White Fog (Almeida) and The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Lyric Hammersmith). Ayesha’s television credits include appearances in Doctor Who, Holby City, Grange Hill, The Bill and Skins.

Simon Chandler began his career as Private Simmonds in Richard Attenborough’s 1977 film A Bridge Too Far. He has since appeared in the films Vera Drake, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The King’s Speech and The Iron Lady. On stage his work includes Cause Célèbre (Old Vic), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Garrick), Democracy (Wyndham’s) and the Women, Power and Politics Season at the Tricycle.

Alexander Cobb’s theatre credits include The Seagull (Headlong), The Magistrate (National Theatre), Goodbye to All That (Royal Court), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal & Derngate), Wasted (Paines Plough/Latitude). Alexander has been seen on screen in Indian Summers, Ripper Street, The Mimic, Call the Midwife, Mr. Selfridge, Doctors and Parade’s End.

Mark Edel-Hunt’s previous stage appearances include When We Were Women (Orange Tree), The Late Mattia Pascal (Raw Material), Time and the Conways (Nottingham Playhouse), Cleopatra (King’s Head), The American Plan (St. James, Bath Theatre Royal), Chariots of Fire (Gielgud, Hampstead Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Rose Theatre Kingston, Riverside Studios, New Wolsey) and The Syndicate (Chichester Festival Theatre). Mark’s television credits include Call the Midwife, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Kidnapped and Mistresses.

Emun Elliott has previously appeared in theatrical productions such as A View From the Bridge (Young Vic), Measure for Measure (Almeida), Blackwatch (National Theatre of Scotland), Captain Oakes’ Left Sock (Royal Court) and Ubu the King (Dundee Rep). In addition to his work on stage, Emun’s television credits include The Paradise, Threesome, Labyrinth, Game of Thrones and Inspector George Gently.

Award winning actor and director Adrian Lester OBE started his career with a string of successful West End productions including Fences, Six Degrees Of Separation, As You Like It and Company before landing the lead role in Mike Nichol’s movie Primary Colors. Other movie credits since include The Day After Tomorrow, Maybe Baby, Born Romantic, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Dust, Final Curtain, Doomsday, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Starting Out in the Evening, As You Like It and Case 39. Adrian is also well known for his TV work including playing ‘Mickey Bricks’ in the long running BBC1 series Hustle, with other TV credits including When Romeo Met Juliet, Merlin, Sleep with Me, Ghost Squad, Being Human, Bonekickers and the US series Red Band Society and Girlfriends. He has appeared on stage as Henry V and Othello at the National Theatre, played Peter Brook’s Hamlet at the Bouffes Du Nord and starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London’s West End. Adrian has recently completed filming the lead role in Undercover, a new 6 part drama for BBC1 and AMC due for transmission spring 2016.

Charlotte Lucas has previously appeared on stage in The Distance (Sheffield Crucible and Orange Tree), Absence of War (Headlong), If Only (Chichester Festival Theatre), Red Velvet (Tricycle & St Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Posh (West End and Royal Court), The Changeling (Young Vic), Yes, Prime Minister (West End), Fast Labour (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Hampstead), World’s End (Trafalgar Studios), Called to Account, Darfur – How Long is Never? and Fabulation (both Tricycle). Charlotte’s television credits include Jamaica Inn, Casualty, Doctors, Midsomer Murders, The Bill, Judge John Deed and Holby City.

Caroline Martin’s stage credits includes Medea (National), A Doll’s House (West End, Brooklyn Academy of Arts), The Merchant of Venice (RSC, Almeida), Macbeth (RSC), House of Special Purpose (Chichester Festival Theatre), Othello (Cheek By Jowl – nominated for Ian Charleson Award), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (RSC). Caroline has appeared in television shows such as 5 Days (BBC/HBO), Foyles War (Greenlit Rights), He Knew He was Right (BBC), Byron (BBC), Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC), Poirot (Granada). Caroline has also appeared in Mike Leigh’s Happy-go-lucky.

Amy Morgan’s previous stage credits include The Beaux Stratagem (National Theatre), The Broken Heart (The Globe), An Ideal Husband (Chichester Festival Theatre), Once A Catholic (Royal Court Liverpool and Tricycle), Trelawny of the Wells (Donmar Warehouse), The Country Wife (Royal Exchange), Hay Fever (West End), Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse), The Taming of the Shrew, To Kill A Mockingbird (Theatr Clwyd), Deepcut (Sherman Cymru) and 24 Hours Plays (Old Vic). Amy has previously appeared on television in Mr Selfridge, Father Brown and The Royal.

Lolita Chakrabarti is an award-winning playwright and actress. Red Velvet earned her the Charles Wintour Evening Standard Award and the Critics Circle Award in 2012 after it opened at the Tricycle Theatre. Lolita’s previous stage credits include Last Seen – Joy (Almeida Theatre). Lolita trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and has carved out an innovative, long running career. Her work as an actress for the past twenty five years spans both stage and screen. She has appeared in a string of recent television dramas including J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy, Jekyll and Hyde, My Mad Fat Diary 3. January will also see Lolita as blacksmith Lila in the epic new ITV drama Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.

Indhu Rubasingham has been the Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre since 2012. Productions as Artistic Director include: Red Velvet (Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Award), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not Stand, Handbagged (Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, West End transfer 2014, UK tour 2015) and Paper Dolls. Indhu also recently directed The Motherf**cker with the Hat (National Theatre) which was awarded Best Play at the 2015 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade / All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the inaugural seven play season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company.

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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