It’s back to the trenches for UK tour of Oh What A Lovely War

Mark Prendergast, Ian Reddington, Wendi Peters, Marcus Ellard in Oh What A Lovely War. Photos by Helen Maybanks.
Mark Prendergast, Ian Reddington, Wendi Peters, Marcus Ellard in Oh What A Lovely War. Photos by Helen Maybanks.

Former Coronation Street star Ian Reddington and Emmerdale’s Christopher Villiers join Wendi Peters in the trenches in the 2015 national tour of Terry Johnson’s hit revival of Oh What A Lovely War.

OWALW will return to its spiritual home – Theatre Royal Stratford East – in January before embarking on tour.

Full casting was announced this week with some of the original 2014 cast returning to the show.

Wendi Peters is currently starring in the festive West End hit, White Christmas but is widely known for her portrayal of the iconic Cilla Battersby in Corrie.

Alongside her screen work she is in demand as a stage actress and won acclaim for her part in Northern Broadsides’ recent UK tour of the award-winning Rutherford & Son.

Ian is one of few actors to have played major roles in Eastenders and Coronation Street, alongside his many stage credits.

He played Richard ‘Tricky Dickie’ Cole in Eastenders, and Liz McDonald’s workshy husband, the hapless drummer Vernon Tomlin, in Coronation Street.

His stage credits include the 1979 production of Oh What A Lovely War! At the Bristol Old Vic, as well as The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, The Shepherd’s Play, Piaf, Wild Oats and Once in a Lifetime, all for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Other credits include Dead Funny, The Woman in Black, Our House, We Will Rock You, Hamlet and Hangover Square.

Christopher Villiers’ credits include three years in Emmerdale as Grayson Sinclair, as well as Hobson’s Choice, Twelfth Night, The Winslow Boy, An Ideal Husband, and Entertaining Mr Sloane.

Screen credits include Hetty Feather, Vera and Father Brown.

Photo Nobby Clark.
Photo Nobby Clark.

Oh What A Lovely War, a satirical musical about World War I, originally premiered at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1963.

Joan Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton’s work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop.

It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964 and receiving four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.

This production, directed by Terry Johnson, opened at Theatre Royal Stratford East in February to public and critical acclaim. Due to popular demand, it returns again in January, little more than a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War.

The musical is packed with familiar songs from the World War I era including It’s A Long Way To Tipperary, Pack Up Your Troubles and Keep The Home Fires Burning.

The songs are performed against a projected backdrop of images and shocking statistics conveying the harsh realities of war.

The remaining ensemble cast includes: Emma Crossley, Marcus Ellard, Alex Giannini, Richard Glaves, Lauren Hood, Alice Bailey Johnson, William Oxborrow, Mark Prendergast, Neil Stewart and Bleu Woodward.

2015 Tour Dates

January 29-February 7, Theatre Royal Stratford East
February 10-14, Richmond Theatre
February 16-21, Malvern Theatre
February 24-28, Manchester Opera House
March 2-7, Cambridge Arts Theatre
March 9-14, Theatre Royal, Bath
March 17-21, Princess Theatre, Torquay
March 23-28, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
March 30-April 4, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
April 7-11, Theatre Royal, Brighton
April 13-18, Leicester Curve
April 28-May 2, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
May 5-9, Birmingham Rep Theatre
May 11-16, Hall For Cornwall,Truro
May 19-23, Hull New Theatre
May 26-30, New Wimbledon Theatre, London

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