Norwich Theatre Royal – November 7-12, 2016

felicity-kendal-forster-2The nation’s sweetheart when she first shot to fame in the mid-1970s as the long-suffering Barbara Good opposite her self-sufficiency obsessed husband Tom (Richard Briers) in The Good Life, Felicity Kendal comes to Norwich Theatre Royal in another much-loved story – A Room With A View.

Based on the classic EM Forster novel, this major new stage production is presented by Theatre Royal Bath who brought the critically-acclaimed Hobson’s Choice to the city this Spring, which proved to be one of the year’s hottest tickets.
A Room With A View has been adapted for stage by Simon Reade, whose other recent adaptations include Regent Park’s Pride and Prejudice, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful. It is directed by Adrian Noble, the recipient of more than 20 Olivier Award nominations and artistic director of the RSC from 1990-2003.

Felicity Kendal takes on the starring role of prim spinster Charlotte Bartlett, who chaperones her pretty but naive younger cousin Lucy on a summer tour of Europe.

She is joined by a strong cast which also features Simon Jones (Bridey in Brideshead Revisited; Arthur Dent in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), Jeff Rawle (George Dent in Drop The Dead Donkey, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Abigail McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey with her father Leo McKern and The Night Manager), Joanne Pearce (The Young Ones and Silent Witness) and and Charlie Anson (Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders).

Exploring themes of class division and fears of loneliness, this sparkling adaptation of the classic novel paints a nostalgic portrait of teenage innocence and love in a hot climate. This play follows the 1985 Merchant-Ivory romantic movie adaptation which starred Helena Bonham-Carter as the young Lucy Honeychurch and Maggie Smith as Charlotte Bartlett.

Whilst touring in sultry Italy, young English rose Lucy meets and falls in love with George Emerson, a young man from the lower-class, who is touring with his father. Horrified to find the young couple kissing and alone, the staid and older Charlotte steps in and whisks Lucy away to Rome, and then back to England.

Once back home at the family’s Surrey estate, Lucy becomes engaged to the eminently suitable, but priggish and pretentious Cecil Vyse. Charlotte has sworn Lucy to secrecy over the kiss with George, but will Lucy be able to repress her feelings when she discovers that the Emersons have taken a house in the village?

 With its cast of vivid characters, this elegant comedy written in 1908 is widely recognized as one of the finest novels of the twentieth century. The award-winning 1985 film was voted number nine in The Guardian’s list of the best romantic films of all time.

One of the UK’s most popular actresses, Felicity Kendal is well-known an illustrious television and stage career, she has starred in many popular series including The Good Life, Solo, The Mistress and Rosemary and Thyme, winning numerous awards for her stage work.

In 2010, she took part in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing. Her extensive theatre credits include Amadeus, Othello, On the Razzle, Arcadia and Humble Boy, all at the National Theatre, while in the West End her many credits include Clouds, for which she won the Variety Club Best Actress of the Year Award, Much Ado About Nothing and Ivanov with Alan Bates, for which she won the Evening Standard Best Actress Award.

Simon Jones appears as Mr Beebe. His television roles include playing ‘Bridey’, the Earl of Brideshead, in Brideshead Revisited alongside Jeremy Irons and Diana Quick, Sir Walter Raleigh in Blackadder, and Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, while film work ranges from Privates on Parade and Miracle on 34th Street, to Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and The Devil’s Own. His stage credits, on both sides of the Atlantic, include Blithe Spirit alongside Angela Lansbury in the West End, Amadeus with Rupert Everett at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Real Thing on Broadway.

Olivier Award-winning Abigail McKern plays the roles of Signora Bertolini and Mrs Honeychurch. She has numerous stage credits to her name and early in her career won the 1984 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in as you Like It. On television, she co-starred with her late father, actor Leo McKern, in three series of Rumpole of the Bailey. Her many screen credits also include The Night Manager and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Jeff Rawle who is Mr Emerson is currently known to Hollyoaks fans as the menacing Silas Blissett, a role he has played since 2010. He is also well known to fans of Drop the Dead Donkey for his role as George Dent in 66 episodes of the cult classic in the 1990s. In a television career spanning over forty years, he played the title role in Billy Liar in the early 1970s and has since appeared in countless favourite series ranging from Doctor Who to Doc Martinand more recently performed in BBC4’s Lost Sitcoms series playing Albert Steptoe in Steptoe and Son.

Joanne Pearce appears as Eleanor Lavish. Her theatre credits include Kean and The Entertainer and on television she has appeared in The Young Ones, The Jury to Inspector Lewis and Silent Witness.

The cast also features Charlie Anson (Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders) as Cecil Vyse, Lauren Coe (Camelot, Primeval) as Lucy Honeychurch, Tom Morley (Pitcairn, The Musketeers, Humans) as George Emerson, with Susie Fairfax as Miss Teresa Alan, Jack Loxton as Freddy and David Killick as Reverend Cuthbert Eager
Edward Morgan Forster, best known by his pen name E.M. Forster, had five novels published in his lifetime: Where Angels Fear To Tread in 1905, The Longest Journey in 1907, A Room With A View in 1908, Howard’s End in 1910 and A Passage To India in 1924.

His sixth novel, Maurice, published posthumously in 1971, shortly after his death a year earlier, had been written more than 55 years earlier. He also wrote numerous short stories. Forster’s work was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 13 different years. As well as A Room With A View, the many major film adaptations of his novels also include Merchant Ivory’s Maurice in 1987 and Howard’s End in 1992, and David Lean’s 1984 film A Passage To India.

A Room With A View , Monday to Saturday, November 7 to 12, 2016. Eves 7.30pm, Mats Wed & Sat 2.30pm. Tickets £8-£28.50. BOX OFFICE 01603 630000. Discounts for Friends, Corporate Club, Over 60s, Under 18s, Groups. Audio Described Performance Sat Nov 12, 2.30pm. Captioned Performance Wed Nov 9, 2.30pm. For more info or to BOOK ONLINE