Nikolai Foster’s celebrated anniversary production of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing will return to the West End in 2015, playing a limited season at the Arts Theatre where it originally enjoyed sell-out success, from 3 June – 11 July. This London season will be part of an 18 week UK tour, opening in Canterbury in March, then visiting Birmingham, Manchester, Guildford, Nottingham, Northampton, Leicester, Cardiff and Brighton.
Beautiful Thing is a glorious urban love story between two young men set on an inner city housing estate. It tells the story of teenager Jamie’s relationship with classmate and neighbour, Ste. Together the two boys find comedy, warmth and the music of Mama Cass through their loud-mouthed next door neighbour Leah. Jonathan Harvey combines comedy with drama in his critically acclaimed award winning play. Beautiful Thing truly captures what it is to be a teenager and to fall in love.
Executive producer Tom O’Connell said, “Further to our award-winning West End season in 2013, the demand to bring Nikolai Foster’s sell-out production back to London has been overwhelming. I’m thrilled that it can return to the Arts Theatre, a perfect intimate space for our beautiful, intimate play.”
Multi-award winning actress Charlie Brooks, best known for her role as ‘Janine Butcher’ in EastEnders, will lead the cast as ‘Sandra’. Other notable credits include ‘Jenny’ in Bleak House, winner of Strictly Come Dancing, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, and a critically acclaimed stage performance in Our Country’s Good (Liverpool Playhouse). Thomas Law, whose roles include ‘Peter Beale’ in EastEnders, ‘Matt Haddon’ in Casualty and most recently as a young Simon Pegg in blockbuster film The World’s End will star as ‘Ste’. Sam Jackson, whose roles include ‘Alex Henley’ in Skins (E4), ‘Jack’ in Drifters (E4) and a critically acclaimed performance as ‘Billy Casper’ in Kes (Derby Theatre), will star as ‘Jamie’.
Best known as series regular ‘Kris Fisher’ in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks most recently seen on screen in BBC2’s The Fall, and on Netflix’ epic Titanic: Blood and Steel, Gerard McCarthy will star as ‘Tony’. Other theatrical credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Globe, and Blue/Orange for ATG. Vanessa Babirye, recently seen on screen in BBC 2’s Our Girl, and at the National Theatre in Romeo and Juliet will star as ‘Leah’. Also joining the company will be Rob Ellis and Natalie Law.
The producers of Beautiful Thing have partnered with Stonewall, and will raise money for the charity’s No Bystanders campaign with bucket collections in every venue, including the Arts.
Jonathan Harvey wrote beautiful thing when he was just 24. It premiered at the Bush Theatre in 1993 and sold out its five-week run before transferring to the Donmar Warehouse, and then the Duke of York’s, eventually winning its author an Olivier Award nomination and the John Whiting Award. A screen adaptation of the play was released in 1996 by Channel 4 films, which went on to be a cult hit. Jonathan is a regular writer for Coronation Street and wrote the TV hit series Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, as well as the best-selling 2012 novel All She Wants. His plays include Canary and Corrie!
Over its 20 year history, the play has featured in the careers of many famous actors including Jonny Lee Miller, Suranne Jones, Hugh Bonneville, Philip Glennister, Andrew Garfield, and Rhys Ifans, and has been produced over 25 times worldwide, with international dates in China, France, Canada, Australia and Holland.
Nikolai Foster was recently appointed Artistic Director of Curve Leicester. His work has been seen in most of the UK’s leading regional theatres, touring houses and internationally, and recent productions include The Hired Man (St James), Calamity Jane (UK tour), Brecht’s The Good Person Of Sichuan (Mercury, Colchester), Flashdance (West End), Hayfever (CFT), Merrily We Roll Along (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), The Diary of Anne Frank (York Theatre Royal & The Touring Consortium), and Annie (WYP, Leeds).
Designed by Colin Richmond, with new lighting design by Ben Cracknell and sound design by George Dennis, Beautiful Thing will be a co-production between the Nottingham Playhouse, the Curve Leicester and Tom O’Connell for QNQ Ltd.
2015 tour dates:
Canterbury– Marlowe Theatre, 23 – 24 March
Birmingham – Hippodrome Studio, 30 March – 11 April
Manchester – Quays Studio, Lowry, Salford, 13 – 18 April
Nottingham – Nottingham Playhouse, 21 April – 9 May
Guildford – Yvonne Arnaud 11 – 16 May (tickets on-sale Feb 2015)
Northampton – Royal and Derngate, 18 – 23 May
Leicester – Curve Studio, 25 – 30 May
West End – Arts Theatre, 3 June – 11 July
Cardiff– New Theatre, 14 – 18 July
Brighton– Theatre Royal, 20 – 25 July