We’re just eleven days away from the British premiere of Beached – the first play we’re creating at The Marlowe. The cast are busy rehearsing, sets are being constructed and we’re just excited to see it all come together, and for you to see it! We’re also thrilled to introduce you to our brilliant cast.
But first, a reminder of what it is: Beached tells the story of 18-year-old Arty, who, at 67 stone, is morbidly obese and the world’s fattest teenager. He is a young man literally going nowhere.
All this is set to change when a reality TV crew moves in to ruthlessly document Arty’s supposed transformation from bedridden walrus to trousered sophisticate. But with the cameras rolling, something totally unexpected happens: Arty falls in love.
Australian Melissa Bubnic has written such a charming and affecting play; what could feel heavy is dealt with powerfully but also comedically.
I remembered some outright funny lines when reading the play, but hearing the cast read the play aloud on the first day of rehearsals was something else. They brought out all the heart and wit: it was moving and it was funny. And that was just day one.
So, let’s meet the team…
Playing Arty is James Dryden. His theatre credits include Teechers (Theatre Royal, Wakefield) and The History Boys (Mercury Theatre). His television work includes Father Brown and for film, his work includes Tulip Fever and Mr Turner.
Robin Weaver plays Arty’s mother, JoJo. You’re most likely to know her as Pamela Cooper (Simon’s mum) in The Inbetweeners, both the series and films. Robin’s also appeared on film in Last Chance Harvey, Magicians and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Television credits include Black Mirror, Trollied, Him and Her, Twenty Twelve, Rev, The Thick Of It, The Inbetweeners and The Catherine Tate Show. Robin has also performed at the National Theatre, Soho Theatre and so many more. Click here for full credits.
Alison O’ Donnell plays Arty’s care-worker-turned-love-interest, Louise. She is known for playing DC Alison MacIntosh in the BBC series Shetland, and her theatre credits include Incognito (Bush Theatre), Boys (Headlong), Yerma (Gate Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre), My Romantic History (Bush/Sheffield Crucible), Eigengrau (Bush Theatre), Dolls (National Theatre of Scotland), and Lady Windermere’s Fan (Oran Mor).
Rhoda Ofori-Attah plays the producer of Shocking Fat Stories – the documentary telling Arty’s story. Her theatre credits include Letters Home (Grid Iron), Bread (Young Vic), Egusi Soup (Soho Theatre), A Doll’s House (Theatre Delicatessen), Otieno (Southwark Playhouse), Present Tense (Southwark Playhouse), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), In Time (Almeida Theatre), Hackney! Who Asked You?, Against Your Own (Arcola Theatre), Molnar Shorts (Finborough Theatre). Television credits include Inside Out South East, Grownups, and Rose and Maloney. Film credits include Tulip Fever and The Art of Defining Me.
Beached is directed by Justin Audibert, a previous associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company and winner of the prestigious Leverhulme Bursary. You may well have seen Justin’s work here before as he directed Red Ladder Theatre Company’s Wrong ‘Un, which played here last month, and also The Jew Of Malta as part of our Marlowe450 anniversary season with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. View a list of Justin’s directing credits here.
So, here are our team all together, from left to right: Robin Weaver (JoJo), James Dryden (Arty), Justin Audibert (director), Alison O’Donnell (Louise) and Rhoda Ofori-Attah (Producer).
Look out for behind-the-scenes blogposts and interviews with the cast and creatives over the next few weeks!
Beached is at The Marlowe Studio from Tuesday 28 October to Saturday 1 November, and at Soho Theatre (Soho Upstairs) from Tuesday 4 to Sunday 23 November. The production contains adult themes and language.