also starring Gemma Whelan as Kate
Directed By Sean Foley
A Troupe of Players appearing at
APOLLO THEATRE, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, LONDON
10 WEEKS ONLY!
FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER - SATURDAY 03 DECEMBER 2022
For every performance, a limited number of £25 rush tickets will be available from 10am in the TodayTix app.
'The most consistently funny comedy since One Man Two Guvnors.'
'Ben Elton is at his finest - It's a play even the great bard would be proud of.'
About Upstart Crow
'A hit, a hit, an implausible hit!' (Independent) Ben Elton's five-star Olivier award-nominated stage production of the critically acclaimed and much adored BBC sitcom UPSTART CROW, returns to the West End stage.
Starring 'the genius' (Daily Mail) David Mitchell, will once more don the bald wig and bardish coddling pouch in his iconic characterisation of Will Shakespeare and Gemma Whelan 'winningly reprises her role' (Evening Standard) as the sweet and fragrant Kate.
David Mitchell says: "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to bring history's most famous balding dramatist to the West End via the amazing comic imagination of Ben Elton. Theatre goers can look forward to a comedy steeped in authentic Shakespearean ambience in every way apart from the smell."
'Tis 1605 and England's greatest playwright is in trouble. Will Shakespeare has produced just two plays and desperately needs to maketh a brilliant new show to bolster his reputation and avoid being cast aside by King and country. As time runs out, can Will hold on to his dream of being recognised now and for all time, as indisputably the greatest writer that ever lived?
Running Time 100 minutes plus one interval.
The Arts Desk
DAVID MITCHELL as WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
David Mitchell was born in Salisbury, grew up in Oxford and went to Cambridge University, where he was president of Footlights and met his comedy partner Robert Webb. Together they have starred in the BAFTA-winning TV series That Mitchell and Webb Look and Peep Show, as well as Ambassadors and Back and five under-rehearsed Edinburgh Fringe shows.
Mitchell has been a team captain on BBC One’s Would I Lie To You for fifteen series and counting, presented Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live, and hosts Radio 4’s The Unbelievable Truth. He played William Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s Upstart Crow, which ran for three series and two specials on BBC2, starred alongside Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom’s 2019 film Greed and currently hosts comedy survival show Outsiders on Dave.
He has been a regular columnist for the Observer since 2008 and has written three books, only one of which was about himself. He is married and has one daughter but no driving licence.
GEMMA WHELAN as KATE
British actress and comedian Gemma Whelan is known for her varied body of work. Whelan can be seen in DI RAY on ITV and was recently seen in THE TOWER for Mammoth Screen/ITV. Whelan starred AMC and BBC One in the third series of the hugely successful and critically acclaimed KILLING EVE as "Geraldine."
Before the theatre shutdown in London, Whelan reprised her role of "Kate" for a stage version of Ben Elton's UPSTART CROW in the West End's Gielgud Theatre. Audiences also saw Whelan play the role of "Mrs. Weston" in Working Title's re-make of Jane Austen's EMMA. She also stars in the first and second series of GENTLEMAN JACK for the BBC and HBO. Before this, Whelan reprised her role of "Yara Greyjoy" in the Emmy® nominated final series of GAME OF THRONES on HBO.
Previously, Whelan appeared on stage in A SLIGHT ACHE and THE DUMB WAITER. In 2017 Whelan was seen in BBC's THE MOORSIDE, DECLINE AND FALL, UPSTART CROW, QUEERS and THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD on Channel 4 and Netflix. Whelan has appeared in BBC's UNCLE, Morgana Robinson's THE AGENCY, ASYLUM, MAPP AND LUCIA, HETTY FEATHER, HORRIBLE HISTORIES,THE PERSUASIONISTS and MURDER IN SUCCESSVILLE. Other television credits include NOT SAFE FOR WORK, SIBLINGS, BADULTS, THE HARRY & PAUL SHOW and THREESOME.
On stage Whelan has appeared in RADIANT VERMIN and DARK VANILLA JUNGLE both at the Soho Theatre. Other theatre credits include Nicholas ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and National Theatre, STEPHEN AND THE SEXY PARTRIDGE at the Trafalgar Studios. In film Whelan played the role of "Len" in Alice Lowe's PREVENGE and appeared in Universal's GULLIVERS TRAVELS and THE WOLFMAN.
JOHN GORDON SINCLAIR as DR JOHN HALL
Theatre credits include: JEEVES AND WOOSTER (Duke of York’s Theatre), THE LADYKILLERS (Vaudeville Theatre), THE INVISIBLE MAN (Menier Chocolate Factory), THE PRODUCERS (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR (Garrick Theatre), THE BOTTOM DRAWER (Oxford Playhouse), WHEN I WAS A GIRL I USED TO SCREAM AND SHOUT (Bush Theatre), WOMAN ALL OVER (Edinburgh Festival), THE COMMON PURSUIT (Watford Palace), GASPING (Theatre Royal Haymarket), AS YOU LIKE IT (Ludlow Festival), GRAVE PLOTS (Nottingham Playhouse), SHE LOVES ME (Savoy Theatre), KAFKA’S DICK, FILUMENA (Piccadilly Theatre), THE REAL THING (UK tour) and SWEET PANIC (Duke of York’s Theatre).
Television credits include: TRACES (UKTV/Red Production Company), DIANA AND I (BBC Two/Big Talk), LONG NIGHT AT BLACKSTONE, WEST SKERRA LIGHT (BBC Scotland/Hopscotch Films), ILL BEHAVIOUR (BBC Two/Fudge Park), SIBLINGS (BBC Three/Bwark Productions), MARPLE: GREENSHAW’S FOLLY (ITV/Coach House Studios), RAB C NESBITT (BBC/The Comedy Unit), ROUND AND ROUND, RASPBERRY RIPPLE, YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART, AN ACTOR’S LIFE FOR ME, NELSON’S COLUMN, MY SUMMER WITH DES, MURDER IN MIND and BERGERAC (BBC), THE SPAVER CONNECTION (Scottish Television), ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (ITV/Witzend Productions),HOT METAL (ITV/Humphrey Barclay Productions), LES GIRLS (ITV/Central Independent Television), SNAKES AND LADDERS (Channel 4/Yorkshire Television), THE WORLD OF PETER RABBIT AND FRIENDS (CBS/TVC London), FRANK STUBBS PROMOTES (ITV/Noel Gay Television), SELF CATERING (Film Finances), LOVED BY YOU (Columbia/TriStar TV), THE CANTERBURY TALES (HBO/ Christmas Films), RUBBADUBBERS (BBC/Hit Entertainment), MAD ABOUT ALICE (BBC One/Tandem Television), ROMAN ROAD (Zenith Entertainment), GOODBYE, MR STEADMAN (Alibi Pictures/Carlton International Media), AKA ALBERT WALKER (AKA Films).
Film credits include: MISS MARX, NICO 1988 (Vivo Film), WORLD WARZ (Paramount Pictures), BRITANNIA HOSPITAL (EMI Films/United Artists); LIVING APART TOGETHER (Darkbeam); LOCAL HERO (Celadine Films/ Warner Brothers), THE GIRL IN THE PICTURE (Antonine Films), ERIK THE VIKING (Orion Picture Corporation), THE BRYLCREEM BOYS (Opix Films/BMG Video), GREGORY’S TWO GIRLS (Channel Four Films), GREGORY’S GIRL (Lake Films), THAT SINKING FEELING (Glasgow Youth Centre).
Writing credits include: WALK IN SILENCE, BLOOD WHISPERS and TWENTY TIMES SEVEN
Stewart Wright as Burbage
Stewart is an established British character actor working across TV, Film, Theatre and Radio for over 25 years.
His best known TV work includes: Doc Martin, Dr Who, Small Axe, The Vicar of Dibley, Black Books, Smack the Pony, People Like Us, Armadillo, Dirty Filthy Love and more recently leading roles in series Love and Marriage and I Want My Wife Back.
On film he's been in hits like Bridget Jones Diary, Ali G Inda House, Nativity 3 and played a lead role in Bollywood film Jungle Cry.
He has also worked extensively in the West End, at the National, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse, WYP, Lyric Hammersmith, Rose Theatre Kingston, Exeter Northcott and 8 productions with Bristol Old Vic in his home town. He's worked on plays by Arthur Miller, Alan Bennett, Helen Edmundson, Tim Firth, been a panto Dame, and played two of Shakespeare’s clowns: Bottom and Dogberry.
Stewart is also a writer/creator.
HELEN MONKS as SUSANNA
Helen is an actor, writer, comedian and theatre maker. Helen's most recent TV acting credits include the new SKY series THIS ENGLAND, BBC comedies JERK and HOLD THE SUNSET, Channel 4 series MAXXX, Amy in BBC1’s ELECTION SPY, Maja Einstein in 21st Century Fox's GENIUS, Colette in BBC2’s INSIDE No. 9 and Germaine Garry in Channel 4’s RAISED BY WOLVES.
Other theatre credits include: NO ONE WILL TELL ME HOW TO START A REVOLUTION at the Hampstead Theatre, DOLLY WANTS TO DIE in the Underbelly, Edinburgh, E15 at the Pleasance Theatre Islington, DENMARK HILL and UNKNOWN MALE at The Birmingham Rep.
Helen is the Co-Artistic Director of the campaign-led verbatim theatre company LUNG. Through LUNG Helen has co-written award-winning plays E15 and TROJAN HORSE and BBC Radio 4 drama SPICE. LUNG are creative associates at the National Theatre for their schools programme, Speak Up, which sees Helen support local schools, artists and theatres to co-create work together. Helen is an honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham.
Helen is also a comedian. She was one of the winners of the Funny Women Stand Up Awards 2015 and co-hosts the comedy podcast TILLY AND HELEN ARE (MOSTLY) NICE ABOUT PEOPLE.
ROB ROUSE as BOTTOM
Rob’s delighted to be rejoining the cast and bringing his BOTTOM back to the West End.
Rob burst onto the comedy scene many moons ago in 1998 when he won Channel 4’s prestigious SO YOU THINK YOU’RE FUNNY? Competition at the Edinburgh Festival. Since then he’s become one of comedy’s most loved and idiotic performers.
He’s written and performed 11 Hit Edinburgh Festival Shows, has completed 3 national tours and also toured around the globe via the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, JUST FOR LAUGHS in Montreal, and across Europe. He’s just returned from Edinburgh again, having debuted his (semi-musical) show NO REFUNDS and the groundbreaking gameshow, LATE NIGHT DIRTY SCRABBLE.
He lives in the Peak District, deep in the hills, where of course he returned to, when our production originally had to close due to reasons we don’t need to mention. Bereft of an audience to perform to, (perhaps a personality trait he really should look at) he began racing his chickens in the back garden and posting them on social media. Before long thousands were tuning in for the 5pm Chicken race as an alternative to listening to Bojo’s announcements and before long the races were broadcast live on Talk Sport every Saturday morning, entertaining and utterly infuriating the listeners in equal amounts!
The next 18 months saw Rob develop an entirely new way of working as a comic, stand up gigs became online shows and Rob started patreon.com/robrouse where he posted daily comedy sketches, songs, podcasts, writing and films, including full length stand up shows and he continues it to this day. It’s a lot of fun, like a low-budget home-made Netflix, with Rob in all of it.
Rob is married to the children’s author Helen Rutter and they are currently writing a stage musical of her first novel THE BOY WHO MADE EVERYONE LAUGH, a heartfelt and funny book about a little boy with a stammer who wants to be a stand-up comedian.
Rob’s TV credits include : THE FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT, 8 OUT OF 10 CATS, SPOONS, DAVE’S ONE NIGHT STAND, LIVE AT THE COMEDY STORE, LIVE FROM MONTREAL and GROWNUPS to name but a few and he also appeared in the Movie PENELOPE.
JASON CALLENDER as ARRAGON
Jason is a graduate of Manchester School of Theatre.
Theatre Work Includes: UPSTART CROW (Gielgud West End), THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG (UK & International Tour), SONG OF RIOTS (BAC/The Awake Project) and DOCTOR FAUSTUS (The Royal Exchange).
Television includes: MALLORY TOWERS 1 & 3, SHADOW & BONE, HOLBY CITY, THE 4 0’CLOCk CLUB and BOTTERSNIKES & GRUMBLES.
Film: OUT OF BODY.
GLORIA ONITIRI as DESIREE
Gloria Onitiri is known for her starring role as Grace Jones in Sky Art's Emmy award winning series, URBAN MYTHS.
Her theatre credits include: The leading role of Lucy in REHAB (Playground Theatre); Guardiano in WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN and Katherina in TAMING OF THE SHREW (Shakespeare's Globe), Ghost of Christmas Present in A CHRISTMAS CAROL and Nancy Colberg in GREEN LIVING (Old Vic Theatre), Yomi in CHIAROSCURO (Bush Theatre), Celia in NAPOLI, BROOKLYN (Park Theatre), Fates in HADESTOWN and as self in WRONG SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS (National Theatre), Ida Arnold in BRIGHTON ROCK (National Tour), Cruella De Vil in 101 DALMATIANS (Birmingham Rep), Radio in CAROLINE, OR CHANGE (Chichester Festival Theatre), Deadpan Delores in THE STRIPPER (St. James Theatre), Francine/ Lena in CLYBOURNE PARK (National Tour), Anne in EGUSI SOUP (National Tour), Spirit in THE TEMPEST (Bath Theatre Royal), Bacchae in THE BACCHAE (National Theatre Scotland) and Arion in AMPHIBIANS (Offstage Theatre). Gloria also created the role Josiana in THE GRINNING MAN for Bristol Old Vic.
For the West End: Gloria was Rachel Marron alongside Heather Headley in the original London cast of THE BODYGUARD (Adelphi Theatre), an original cast member of AVENUE Q (Noel Coward Theatre), Nala in THE LION KING (Lyceum Theatre) and most recently, The Godmother in Andrew Lloyd Webber's, CINDERELLA.
Her television also includes: Dotun in THE WINDOW (C4), Donna in GRASS (BBC), Marcia Jones in BAD GIRLS (Shed), Bess in PORGY AND BESS - OPERA SHORTS (BBC), Knightress in SPLATALOT (CBBC,ABC3,YTV), Joy Okotume in DOCTORS (BBC). And for film: Jackie in RESURRECTING THE STREET WALKER (Scala).
Gloria is also founder and host of the podcast, LETTER TO A BLACK GIRL where she round tables with some of the best of Britain’s leading black women.
DANIELLE PHILLIPS as JUDITH
Danielle is thrilled to be pulling up her puffling pants once again and returning to cast of THE UPSTART CROW.
Danielle is an actor and theatre maker from Yorkshire. She most recently starred as 'Alice' in MASTERS OF THE AIR, A Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks production for Apple TV. Danielle also received a nomination for an 'Evening Standard Future Theatre Award 2021'.
Television credits include: THE SISTER BONIFACE MURDER MYSTERIES (BBC/Britbox) and FATHER BROWN (BBC).
Film credits include: READY PLAYER ONE (Warner Bros).
Stage credits include: SKY COMEDY REP (Birmingham Rep), TRYING IT ON BY DAVID EDGAR (RSC, Royal Court), DARK WINTER (Hull Truck) and GWEN MUI//GHOST GIRL (Camden Peoples Theatre).
Danielle is excited to present her playwriting debut CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT which will premier at the CAST Theatre, Doncaster in 2023.
REICE WEATHERS as COVER TO DESIREE AND DANCING BEAR
Training: Royal Central School of speech and Drama.
Television Credits Include: THE CONTINENTAL (Starz), TED LASSO (Apple TV), DOCTORS (BBC) and DREAM TEAM (Sky One).
Theatre Credits Include: PINNOCHIO (Greenwich Theatre), THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE (Greenwich Theatre), BOXMAN (Flugman Productions), THE TEMPEST (Bilimankhwe Arts) and THE ISLAND (Linbury Studio).
Credits whilst training: TITUS ANDRONICUS (Aaron The Moore), ANGELS IN AMERICA (Louis Ironson) and THE LOW ROAD (John Blanke).
ANDREW HODGES as COVER TO WILL/BURBAGE/DR HALL
Training: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes: Pilgrim/Courtier in THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT (RSC), Sgt Thunder in WAR HORSE (The National Theatre), Man 2 in THE 39 STEPS (The Criterion Theatre), Red in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Abridged) and THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED) (Reduced Shakespeare Company), Fluellen in HENRY V (Antic Disposition), Hortensio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (TNT Theatre), Jacob Marley in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (American Drama Group Europe), Mr Page in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (GB Theatre), Peter Quince in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Oxford Shakespeare Company), Charles the Wrestler in AS YOU LIKE IT (Creation Theatre) and Escalus in MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Lunchbox Theatre).
On screen his credits include The Earl of Winchester in BRITAIN’S TUDOR TREASURES (BBC Factual), Writer/Presenter in HANDS ON HISTORY (BBC Learning) and US Soldier in IRAQ: THE BLOODY CIRCUS (More4).
DEDUN OMOLE as COVER TO DESIREE AND DANCING BEAR
Training: Drama Centre. Dedun is a 2020 graduate.
Theatre Credits whilst training: POMONA, THE CRUCIBLE, UNCLE VANYA, HEDDA GABLER, MEDEA and THE TRAGEDY OF JULIUS CEASER.
Dedun is excited to make her West End debut in UPSTART CROW.
ANNABEL SMITH as COVER TO KATE/JUDITH/SUSANNA
Training: The Oxford School of Drama.
Theatre includes: THE UPSTART CROW (Gielgud), TURN OF THE SCREW (Mercury Theatre/UK Tour), THE DARK ROOM (Theatre 503), THE LAST ONES (Jermyn Street Theatre), SPITFIRE SISTERS, MANIFESTO and THE LIGHTHOUSE (The Space Theatre).
Television includes: ROSAMUNDE PILCHER: AN ALMOST PERFECT WOMAN (FFP New Media).
Film includes: YOU LOOK FINE (BFI Future Festival Winner).
Radio includes: ROAD TO OXFORD (BBC Radio 4).