INSIDE: RSC’s ‘The Boy In The Dress’ Musical In Rehearsal

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With one month to go before the first preview of The Boy in the Dress, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) new musical, images from rehearsals have been released.

The production runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from Friday 8 November 2019 – Sunday 8 March 2020.

David Walliams’ heart-warming comedy telling the story of star striker and fashion lover Dennis comes to the stage for the first time in a musical adapted by former RSC writer-in-residence Mark Ravenhill, with new songs from Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.

Rufus Hound plays Dennis’ dad; Irvine Iqbal plays Raj, the shopkeeper; Natasha Lewis plays Dennis’ best friend Darvesh’s mum, Forbes Masson plays Mr Hawtrey, the headmaster from Dennis’ school, and Charlotte Wakefield plays Miss Windsor.

Rufus Hound recently appeared with the RSC in The Provoked Wife and Don Quixote. His other theatre work includesDusty (Tour); Present Laughter (Chichester); Wind in the Willows (Palladium Theatre); What the Butler Saw (Leicester Curve);  The Wars of the Roses (Rose Theatre Kingston); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre); Neville’s Island, Present Laughter (Chichester); One Man Two Guv’nors (National Theatre/West End); Utopia (Soho Theatre).

Irvine Iqbal is making his RSC debut. His previous theatre work includes Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Aladdin – The Musical (Prince Edward Theatre); Branded (Criterion Theatre); Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre); World of Walliams (Harper Collins Publisher Ltd); Mr Stink (UK tour); Little Shop of Horrors (Jersery Opera House).

Natasha Lewis was last on the RSC stages in 2018’s original musical Miss Littlewood. Her other theatre includes Brassed Off (New Vic Theatre); Call Me Fury (Alchymy Festival, Oxford); Aladdin (Hackney Empire);Priscilla Queen of the Desert/Cinderella (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch); Peter Pan in Scarlet (New Vic Theatre/Oxford Playhouse); Our House – The Madness Musical (UK tour); Dick Whittington & His Cat(Cheltenham Everyman Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors, Rope & Dear Brutus (Pitlochry Festival Theatre).

Forbes Masson is an RSC Associate Artist whose previous work with them includes As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Ahasauerus, Morte d’Arthur, A Tender Thing, The Grain Store, Henry V, Henry IV Part II, Henry VI Part I, II & III, Richard II, Richard III, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Hamlet, Pilate. His other theatre work includes Bartholomew Fair, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe); Summer and Smoke, Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s); Little Shop of Horrors (Regents Park Open Air Theatre).

Charlotte Wakefield’s recent theatre credits include: A Crag Path Christmas (Aldeburgh Juliblee Hall), The Dreamers (Abbey Road Studios) Crazy For You (UK Tour), Heathers The Musical (Work in Progress Season at The Other Palace), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (West Yorkshire Playhouse & UK Tour), The Herbal Bed (Royal & Derngate/ETT/Rose Theatre Kingston), Monsieur Popular (Theatre Royal Bath), Oklahoma (UK Tour), A Spoonful Of Sherman (St James Theatre), Noel Coward’s Christmas Spirits (St James Theatre), The Sound Of Music (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – 2014 Olivier & ES Award Nominee), Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre and UK Tour), Spring Awakening, (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello Theatre, 2010 Olivier Award Nominee).

The role of Dennis will be played by Oliver CrouchJackson LaingTom Lomas and Toby Mocrei. Darvesh, Dennis’ best friend, will be played by Ethan DattaniShivain Kara-PatelKassian Shae Ahktar and Arjun Singh KhakhAsha BanksTabitha Knowles and Miriam Nyarko will play Lisa James, Dennis’ fashion-savvy friend, while Alfie Jukes and Zachary Loonie will play his older brother John.

Other cast includes David Birch (Maudlin Street Captain), Hannah Fairclough (ensemble), Max Gill (Big Mac), Ahmed Hamad (ensemble), Ryan Heenan (Rory), Charlotte Jaconelli (Lorna), Alim Jayda (ensemble), Christina Modestou (Miss Bresslaw), Alexander Moneypenny (Gareth), Clancy Ryan (ensemble), Cilla Silvia (ensemble), Jack Anthony Smart (Swing), Ben Thompson (Oddbod), Jamie Tyler (St Kenneth’s Captain), Georgie Westall (Swing), Grace Wylde (Louise).

Gregory Doran said of the production: “It is tremendous to welcome such a talented cast of new and established RSC company members to our new musical production of The Boy in the Dress, particularly one with such a strong background of excellent musical theatre performances and first-class comic talent. The cast join an already impressive line-up of UK and international creatives, including comic writer, performer and beloved children’s book author David Walliams and chart-topping songwriters Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. I am excited to work together with them over the coming weeks to bring this life-affirming, funny story to the RST stage.”

Other members of the creative team include Robert Jones (Designer), Aletta Collins (Choreographer), Mark Henderson (Lighting), Guy Chambers and Tom Deering (Orchestrators), Bruce O’Neil (Musical Supervisor and Arrangements), Alan Williams (Musical Director and Arrangements), Paul Groothuis and Tom Marshall (Sound), Laura Cubitt (Puppetry Dierctor) and Pippa Hill (Dramaturg).

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