Tom Stoppard’s multi award-winning play The Real Thing tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 18th to Saturday 30th September with Lewis star Laurence Fox appearing in the lead role of Henry in a brand new production. A clever, poignant and entertaining examination of infidelity, The Real Thing was first staged thirty-five years ago. Now Stephen Unwin directs Stoppard’s timeless drama with a cast which also features Rebecca Johnson (The Trip, Casualty 1906, Just William) and Flora Spencer-Longhurst (RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing/Love’s Labour’s Lost, Beautiful Relics, Leonardo).
Henry is the smartest and sharpest playwright of his generation. His wife, Charlotte, an actress, has been appearing in a play by Henry about a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. Max, her leading man, is also married to an actress, Annie. When Henry’s affair with Annie threatens to destroy his own marriage, he realises life has started imitating art. But are they really in love? Is it the real thing?
The Real Thing was first staged in the West End in 1982, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. It subsequently transferred to Broadway, where it went on to win multiple awards including the Tony Award for Best Play in 1984 and, sixteen years later, the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
A member of one of the UK’s leading acting dynasties, Laurence Fox is best known on television as DS James Hathaway in Lewis, a role he played in all nine series, from 2006 to 2015. His other television credits include A Room With A View, Wired, Island at War and Agatha Christie’s Marple. His film credits include Gosford Park and Becoming Jane. He last performed at Bath’s Theatre Royal in Treats in 2007 prior to the West End. His recent theatre credits in the West End include Strangers on a Train at the Gielgud Theatre and Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre. Laurence is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist. His debut album, Holding Patterns, was released in February 2016.
Rebecca Johnson, who plays Charlotte, was most recently seen at the Theatre Royal last summer in Stephen Unwin’s production of Present Laughter playing Liz Essendine, alongside Samuel West. In Bath prior to this, she performed in This Happy Breed in 2011, also directed by Unwin. Rebecca has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre many times, including Wendy and Peter Pan for the former, and Coram Boy and Mourning Becomes Electra for the latter. Her television credits include the role of Sally in The Trip and The Trip to Italy with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan; she played Sister Spencer in Casualty 1906, and the subsequent 1907 and 1909 series; and was Ethel Brown in Just William.
The role of Annie is played by Flora Spencer-Longhurst, whose previous stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC, A Christmas Truce and Once in the West End, Titus Andronicus at the Globe Theatre, and Girl with a Pearl Earring in the West End.
On screen, she starred alongside Shirley Anne Field, in Beautiful Relics, playing her granddaughter, and with Sir Ben Kingsley in Walking with the Enemy, for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Her television credits include Leonardo, Father Brown, Dalziel and Pascoe, Unforgiven and Wallander.
Max is played by Adam Jackson-Smith, whose West End credits include The Dresser and The 39 Steps. He last appeared at the Theatre Royal Bath in Laurence Boswell’s 2011 Ustinov Studio autumn season performing in repertory in The Phoenix of Madrid, Iphigenia and The Surprise of Love.
The cast is completed by Santino Smith as Brodie, Venice Van Someren as Debbie and Kit Young as Billy.
Playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. He began his writing career in Bristol as a journalist for the Western Daily Press. He has written prolifically for stage, film, television and radio. His best known plays also include Jumpers, Travesties, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Rock ‘n’ Roll and The Invention of Love. He co-wrote the screenplays for the films Brazil, Shakespeare in Love and The Russia House. He was knighted in 1997 and has received an Academy Award and four Tony Awards for his work.
Director Stephen Unwin was the Artistic Director of Kingston’s Rose Theatre from 2008 to 2014, where his many productions included Hay Fever starring Celia Imrie, The Importance of Being Earnest starring Jane Asher, The Lady From the Sea starring Joely Richardson, The Vortex starring Kerry Fox and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg starring Ralf Little. In 1993 he founded English Touring Theatre, for whom he was Artistic Director for fifteen years, and directed twenty much-praised productions. He has also directed fifteen operas, written ten books on theatre, drama and related subjects, and written four original plays and numerous translations. His previous work with Theatre Royal Bath includes Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 in 1997, which starred both Timothy West and Samuel West. Also in Bath, he directed Present Laughter in for the 2016 Summer Season; Moon Tiger in 2014; The Winslow Boy in 2009; and for The Peter Hall Company at the Theatre Royal: Born in the Gardens in 2008, Home in 2009, and This Happy Breed in 2011. The Real Thing will mark the twelfth time that a production directed by Stephen Unwin has played Bath.
The Real Thing appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 18th to Saturday 30th September. Tickets are on sale at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk