The Theatre Royal Bath’s spring season opens with the first major West End revival of Simon Gray’s play Quartermaine’s Terms, starring Rowan Atkinson, from Monday 14th January to Saturday 19th January. This new production visits the Theatre Royal Bath directly prior to its run at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre. Advance tickets for the week-long run in Bath have sold out. A limited number of standby tickets and standing places will go on sale on the week of the performance.
Rowan Atkinson is joined by Matthew Cottle, Louise Ford, Conleth Hill, Will Keen, Felicity Montagu and Malcolm Sinclair in Quartermaine’s Terms, directed by Richard Eyre, with design by Tim Hatley.
Set in the 1960s in an English language school for foreigners, this tragicomic play is a humorous but ultimately moving account of several years in the lives of seven teachers. At the heart of the group is St. John Quartermaine (played by Rowan Atkinson) – kind, pleasant and agreeable, but utterly hopeless as a teacher. An almost permanent feature in the staff room, he’s always available to listen to the problems of his self-obsessed colleagues. But when a new Principal is appointed, Quartermaine’s future looks precarious…
Quartermaine’s Terms will be Rowan Atkinson’s first appearance in a play for almost 25 years. He first appeared in the West End in 1981 in Rowan Atkinson in Revue, also produced by Michael Codron, for which he won a SWET Award, and subsequently in The New Revue, The Nerd, The Sneeze and, most recently, as Fagin in Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of the musical Oliver!, for which he received an Olivier Award nomination.
Rowan Atkinson first came to national attention in the late 1970s in the renowned Amnesty International show The Secret Policeman’s Ball, and in the BBC satirical comedy series Not the Nine O’Clock News. In 1983, Rowan and writer Richard Curtis created The Black Adder for the BBC: that series and the three subsequent written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton won a host of awards, including personal awards for Rowan’s performance.
His most famous character, Mr Bean, first emerged in Rowan’s 1980s stage revues and was developed into a television series with Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll. Mr Bean has been screened in over 240 countries and transformed into an animated series and two feature films that Rowan co-produced, Bean and Mr Bean’s Holiday. His other films include Never Say Never Again, The Lion King (for which he provided the voice of Zazu), The Witches, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Johnny English, Love Actually and Johnny English Reborn.
Conleth Hill, whose West End credits include The Producers and Stones in His Pockets, will play Henry Windscape. He has performed at the Theatre Royal Bath previously in The Seafarer in 2007. Will Keen plays the role of Derek Meadle. His recent Theatre Royal Bath appearances include Don Juan and Man and Superman for The Peter Hall Company 2004 season, and Hysteria alongside Antony Sher in 2012. He appeared in the BBC drama series Silk and in Julian Fellowes’ adaptation of Titanic for ITV. Felicity Montagu, best known for starring opposite Steve Coogan in I’m Alan Partridge, plays Melanie Garth. Malcolm Sinclair, whose myriad stage credits include The Doctor’s Dilemma and The Habit of Art at the National Theatre, appears as Eddie Loomis.
Matthew Cottle plays the role of Mark Sackling. His television credits include Game On. His most recent credits in Bath include Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular in 2008 and Neighbourhood Watch in 2012. He also recently appeared in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art at the National Theatre. Louise Ford, who last appeared at the Theatre Royal in War and Peace in 2008, appears as Anita Manchip.
This quintessentially English drama is written by Simon Gray with his characteristic incisive wit. His many stage plays include Wise Child, Butley, Otherwise Engaged, The Common Pursuit, The Late Middle Classes and The Old Masters. He was also a novelist and screenwriter. Gray published several volumes of diaries, which he adapted for the stage, with Hugh Whitemore, as The Last Cigarette. In 1990 he was given the BAFTA Writer’s Award. Quartermaine’s Terms was originally produced by Michael Codron and directed by Harold Pinter, at Queen’s Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in 1981.
Director Richard Eyre has received numerous major awards. As Artistic Director of the National Theatre from 1988 to 1997, his many productions included Guys and Dolls, The Beggar’s Opera, Hamlet, Racing Demon, Richard III, Skylight, Amy’s View, King Lear and The Invention of Love. Since then his theatre and opera work includes The Crucible and Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway; and Vincent in Brixton for the National Theatre in the West End and on Broadway. His production of Private Lives starring Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen opened in Bath in 2010, prior to the West End and Broadway. His film work includes Tumbledown, Suddenly Last Summer, Iris, Stage Beauty and Notes on a Scandal. He adapted and directed Henry IV Parts One and Two for BBC’s 2012 Shakespeare Season. In 2011 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was knighted in 1997.
Tim Hatley has won two Olivier Awards and two Tony Awards for stage design. His West End and Broadway theatre credits include Betty Blue Eyes, Shrek the Musical, Spamalot, Private Lives. His film credits include Stage Beauty and Notes on a Scandal, directed by Richard Eyre; and Closer.
QUARTERMAINE’S TERMS appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 14th January to Saturday 19th January. Box Office 01225 448844, www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Advance tickets sold out. Standby tickets and standby places will go on sale during the week of the performance.