Making his Theatre Royal Bath debut Mathew Horne, star of Gavin & Stacey and The Catherine Tate Show, appears – as you’ve never seen him before – in Brandon Thomas’s world famous farce Charley’s Aunt. Star of stage and screen Jane Asher, Norman Pace (Hale & Pace) and Steven Pacey (La Cage aux Folles, By Jeeves), also perform as part of a stellar cast visiting Bath exclusively from Monday 12 November to Saturday 17 November, direct from a sold-out run at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.
Set in the early 1890s, Brandon Thomas’s classic comedy, with its side-splitting mix of chases, scenes of mistaken identity, conversations at crossed purposes and wildly improbable coincidences, is one of the most entertaining farces of all time.
Charley’s rich Aunt, Donna Lucia, is visiting from Brazil – where the nuts come from – and the timing couldn’t be better. Oxford undergraduates Jack and Charley are smitten by two most delightful young ladies, Kitty and Amy, but they can’t spend any time alone unless there is a female chaperone present. Luckily, the arrival of Charles’ mysterious aunt will provide the boys with the perfect excuse for a luncheon invitation.
But when Donna is delayed their romantic plans are scuppered. Forced to act quickly Jack blackmails fellow student Lord Fancourt Babberley into impersonating Charley’s Aunt. Babberley throws himself into the role but he soon gets more than he bargained for when he has to fend off the attentions of Jack’s father. Meanwhile, the REAL Donna Lucia creates unforeseen havoc when she decides to surprise her nephew by arriving in Oxford unannounced!
Star of the BBC’s BAFTA award-winning sitcom Gavin & Stacey, Mathew Horne plays the role of Fancourt Babberley. On television, he is also well-known for his many roles in the highly successful television series The Catherine Tate Show and for playing Jon Moss in the acclaimed BBC film Worried about the Boy. His many credits also include BBC’s Roman’s Empire, Billy Goats Gruff, The Smoking Room and Horne and Corden; ITV’s Miss Marple; and for Channel 4 Teachers and 20 Things to Do Before You’re 30. Mathew co-starred with Imelda Staunton in the West End production of Entertaining Mr Sloane and played Henry’s Dad in the feature film Horrid Henry. Earlier this autumn, he co-starred in the new BBC3 sitcom Bad Education.
Jane Asher stars as Donna Lucia. She recently filmed the comedy I Give It A Year and Stephen Poliakoff’s new five-part drama for BBC 2, Dancing on the Edge, and appeared in BBC’s Waterloo Road. Having worked in film and television since the age of five, she has appeared in countless plays at the National Theatre, the Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway. Last year she starred as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in rep with Farewell to the Theatre at The Rose Theatre, Kingston, and performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in The Reluctant Debutante as part of a national tour. Recently Jane also starred in Festen and Things We Do for Love in the West End; House & Garden at the National Theatre; and Peter Hall’s 2009 revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. Her extensive film and television work includes, Alfie; Paris By Night; Brideshead Revisited; Crossroads; Wish Me Luck; The Mistress; Poirot; and Holby City.
Charles Kay appears as Brassett. One of the original cast of The Woman in Black on stage, his many theatre credits include All’s Well That End’s Well for the Royal Shakespeare Company and in the West End; and The Miser and The Madness of George III at the National Theatre. He has performed in Bath in eight previous productions, most recently in Quartermaine’s Terms in 2008. His television and film credits include Law and Order, Goodnight Mr Tom, Henry V and Amadeus.
Norman Pace plays the role of Spettigue. As one half of the well-known comedy duo Hale and Pace, Norman is well-known for his many comedy television series. Recently seen in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory in the comedy Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson, his other theatre work includes the UK tour of Dry Rot; the National Theatre production of Honk, which played Bath in 2001; and Chicago and Donkey’s Years in the West End, touring to Bath in 2007 in the latter.
Steven Pacey appears as Colonel Sir Francis Chesney. Steven played the lead role of Georges in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of La Cage aux Folles in the West End, opposite Graham Norton. His many theatre credits also include the West End productions of Things We Do for Love, By Jeeves, which was Olivier Award nominated, and The Birthday Party, which played Bath in 1999; Six Degrees of Separation at London’s Old Vic; and the UK tour of Spamalot. His seven previous production credits at the Theatre Royal Bath include, most recently, A Family Affair in 2000. His television work includes Wallander, Spooks, Distant Shores, Doctors and Blake’s Seven.
The cast is completed by Benjamin Askew as Charley, Ellie Beaven as Amy, Charlie Clemmow as Ela, Dominic Tighe as Jack and Leah Whitaker as Kitty.
Ian Talbot directs Charley’s Aunt. Previously the Artistic Director of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, for which he received an OBE in 2007, his directing credits also include Lend Me a Tenor – the Musical at Plymouth Theatre Royal and in the West End. He was last at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2009 when he performed alongside Imogen Stubbs in Alphabetical Order.
Since it was first staged Charley’s Aunt has been adapted for a number of film versions, most notably in 1941 featuring Jack Benny in the principal role. When the play originally opened in 1892 it broke all box office records at the time, running for 1466 performances, and it has been a perennial favourite ever since.
CHARLEY’S AUNT appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 12 November to Saturday 17 November. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk