“Lady Brute is tired of her tedious, loveless marriage and her tedious, drunk husband. When she decides to spice up her love life with a younger man, scandal threatens to ruin her”.
Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2012) direct’s John Vanbrugh’s riotous restoration comedy, ‘The Provoked Wife’, at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre from 2nd May to 7th September 2019, with an official opening night on Thursday 9th May.
Royal Shakespeare Company Associate Artist Alexandra Gilbreath returns to the company to play Lady Brute, having last appeared at the RSC as feisty courtesan Angellica Bianca in the 2016 production of Aphra Behn’s ‘The Rover’. Other leading roles for the company include Hermione in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, Juliet in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Rosalind in ‘As You Like It’, Kate in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and Mistress Ford in the 2012 production of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’.
Alexandra will be joined by Caroline Quentin, also marking her return to the company, to play Lady Fanciful. Caroline first appeared at the RSC in the original production of Les Misérables (1985), and could be seen in Phillip Breen’s 2017 production of ‘The Hypocrite’ as Lady Sarah Hotham, opposite Mark Addy‘s Sir John Hotham. A co-production with Hull Track as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture, the play was a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Plays Award.
RSC Associate Artist Jonathan Slinger returns to the company to play Sir John Brute. His numerous RSC credits include the title role in ‘Hamlet’, Prospero in ‘The Tempest’ and Lenny in ‘The Homecoming’. Jonathan played the title roles in both Richard II and Richard III as part of Michael Boyd’s Histories Cycle, which saw him nominated twice for Best Actor in the Evening Standard Awards in 2008. Other theatre credits include playing Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, ‘Absolute Hell’ at the National Theatre and ‘Fanny and Alexander’ at the Old Vic.
Rufus Hound (Trollied, Drunk History, Celebrity Juice, Hounded) returns to the RSC, this time to play Constant, after his acclaimed performance in the company’s production of ‘Don Quixote’ which, after a successful run at the Swan Theatre in 2016, transferred to the West End’s Garrick Theatre in 2018. Hound’s previous theatre credits include ‘Dusty’ (Tour), ‘Present Laughter’ (Chichester), ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ (Savoy Theatre), ‘One Man Two Guv’nors’ (National Theatre/West End) and ‘Utopia’ (Soho Theatre).
Les Dennis (Opportunity Knocks, The Russ Abbott Show, The Les Dennis Laughter Show and Family Fortunes) will make his RSC debut as Colonel. Dennis’ most recent work includes ‘End of the Pier’ at the Park Theatre, for which he was nominated for the OFFIE Award for ‘Best Male in a Play’, and Uncle Fester in the UK Tour of ‘The Addams Family‘.
Further casting will include Pete Ashmore (Servant/Porter), Isabel Adomakoh Young (Cornet), Natalie Dew (Belinda), Polly Edsell (Lovewell), Kevin N Golding (Justice), Alison Halstead (Constable), John Hodgkinson (Heartfree), Nickcolia King-N’Da (Tailor), Steve Nicolson (Rasor), Carl Prekopp (Lord Rake), Ben Roddy (Servant/Watch), Rosalind Steele (Pipe), Sarah Twomey (Mademoiselle) and Toby Webster (Treble).
Director Phillip Breen said, “I am incredibly excited to be working with the RSC once again and this talented ensemble of actors. This company brings together a first-class line-up of established comic talent with some of the most exciting young actors I have seen making their professional debut on the RSC stage. ‘The Provoked Wife’ is an utterly unique comedy. With echoes of Harold Pinter’s ‘Consent’ and Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’, John Vanbrugh’s outspoken and – at times – scandalous comedy of marriage is hilarious, sharp and disturbing in equal measure”.
The production will feature design by Mark Bailey, lighting by Tina MacHugh, music by Paddy Cunneen, sound by Dyfan Jones, movement by Ayse Tashkiran and fights by Renny Krupinski.
“Director Phillip Breen brings his comedy Midas touch to this outspoken Restoration romp that shocked 17th century society”.