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Comedy star Adrian Edmondson is set to tread the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the RSC’s forthcoming production of Twelfth Night. Taking on the role of the hoodwinked steward Malvolio, he’ll be joined on stage by TV favourite Kara Tointon and returning RSC performer John Hodgkinson.
Running on the main stage over the winter, the production is directed by Christopher Luscombe, whose 2014 pairing of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing (as Love’s Labour’s Won) received huge critical acclaim, going on to tour in 2015.
“The great challenge of Twelfth Night is to reconcile its melancholy and joyful elements,” said Luscombe. “I'm delighted to say that we've found an exceptional cast who, I believe, can do full justice to the play's dazzling emotional range. I can't wait to start work with them.”
Best known for his work on classic British sitcoms like The Young Ones, Bottom and Blackadder, Edmondson has also starred in numerous TV dramas, most recently appearing in One of Us and War and Peace for the BBC. Over the years, he has also performed in various bands along with fellow comics and musicians.
Having risen to prominence as EastEnders’ Dawn Swann before winning Strictly Come Dancing 2010, Kara Tointon has gone on to appear in ITV period dramas Mr Selfridge and The Halcyon, as well as playing the lead in 2015’s The Sound of Music Live! On stage, she recently starred in ATG and Smith & Brant’s production of Gaslight, which ran at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre in January this year. In Twelfth Night, Tointon will play the wealthy countess Olivia.
Making her RSC debut as the stranded cross-dressing twin Viola will be Dinita Gohil, whose previous theatre credits include The Hurling Rubble at Moon for Park Theatre and Tartuffe at the Birmingham REP. Screen work includes New Blood, The Last Train and a forthcoming BBC adaptation of Sathnam Sanghera’s memoir The Boy with the Topknot.
After appearances in Luscombe’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, John Hodgkinson returns in the role of Olivia’s uncle, the drunken gadabout Sir Toby Belch. Also returning to the RSC will be Vivien Parry, who starred in Phillip Breen’s acclaimed production of Thomas Middleton’s The Shoemakers Holiday in 2015.
Completing the cast will be Esh Alladi as Viola’s long-lost twin Sebastian; Nicholas Bishop as her unwitting love interest, Duke Orsino; Michael Cochrane as Toby Belch’s rich friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek; Beruce Khan as the clown Feste; Verity Kirk as the Parlour Maid; Joseph Prowen as the Footman and Sarah Twomey as Sir Toby’s servant Fabia. Further casting will be announced later this year.
Twelfth Night is directed by Christopher Luscombe and designed by Simon Higlett with lighting by Tim Mitchell. Music is by Nigel Hess and sound is by Jeremy Dunn. Movement is by Jenny Arnold and fights are by Kevin McCurdy.
The show runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 2 November 2017 until 24 February 2018. For more information or to book, visit rsc.org.uk/twelfth-night.
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