Theatre

Jack Absolute Flies Again, riotous new play from Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Emma) new cast includes Natalie Simpson

As rehearsals begin, the National Theatre announce the full casting for Jack Absolute Flies Again, which will play in repertoire in the Olivier from 15 April until 25 July.

Staged during the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Thea Sharrock (After The Dance) directs this riotous and comedic new version of Sheridan’s The Rivals, co-written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Emma).

Laurie Davidson and Natalie Simpson will play Jack Absolute and Lydia Languish, with Caroline Quentin as Mrs Malaprop and Richard Fleeshman as Dudley Scunthorpe.

James Fleet joins the cast as Jack’s father Sir Anthony Absolute, Lisa McGrillis will play Lucy, Mrs Malaprop’s maid, and Helena Wilson (Measure for Measure) will play Julia Melville, Lydia Languish’s best friend and Roy Faulkland’s fiancé. And joining the cast as Jack’s RAF squadron are Jordan Metcalfe (Pride) as Roy Faulkland, James Corrigan (King Lear) as Bob ‘Wingnut’ Acres, Akshay Sharan (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) as Bhaggi ‘Tony’ Khattri, Tim Steed (The Crown) as Brian Coventry, Theo Cowan (The Outcast) as Peter Kingsmith and Azan Ahmed ((This Isn’t) A True Story) as Sergeant Sampson.

July 1940. After an aerial dog fight, Pilot Officer Jack Absolute flies home to his intrepid young Hurricane squadron at RAF Fontwell (formerly Malaprop Hall, East Sussex).

Back on British soil, Jack is shocked to find his old flame, Lydia, on the base. Setting his sights on winning her heart, Jack’s advances turn to anarchy when the young heiress demands to be loved on her own terms.

The set and costume design is by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Bruno Poet, music by Adrian Johnston, sound design by Paul Arditti, video design by Jeff Sugg, choreography by Lizzi Gee and physical comedy direction by Toby Park for Spymonkey.

Jack Absolute Flies Again is at the National Theatre from 15 April until 25 July and will be broadcast to cinemas live from 23 July.

Production supported by Juliet de Baubigny.

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