Stop Press! Clare Higgins & Greg Hicks get the Clarion call

Claire Higgins & Greg Hicks in Clarion
Clare Higgins & Greg Hicks in Clarion

Two of the most highly acclaimed British actors of their generation, Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks, are to star in the premiere of Clarion, set in the office of Britain’s worst newspaper, the Daily Clarion.

Written by Mark Jagasia, who worked as a journalist for several Fleet Street newspapers, Clarion is an urgent black comedy about free speech, nationalism and the state of the British media in 2015.

It will get a five-week season at London’s Arcola Theatre from April 15 in an explosive production from artistic director Mehmet Ergen.

Morris Honeyspoon (Hicks), the Clarion’s egomaniacal editor, spends his weekends dressed as Julius Caesar, and at work he rules like a tyrant.

But life at his beloved paper is a masterclass in incompetence and deceit. As political storm clouds gather over an uneasy country, it seems the paper’s worst crimes are about to be exposed.

With Honeyspoon frantically searching for an office traitor, washed-up foreign correspondent Verity Stokes (Clare Higgins) masterminds a murderous day of reckoning…

Mark Jagasia’s debut play shines a dazzling light on the dark heart of democracy. Its themes of rising nationalism and political turbulence are powerfully relevant in this general election year.

The rest of the cast are: Peter Bourke, Jim Bywater, Jim Dunkley, Laura Smithers, Ryan Wichert.

Clare Higgins said: “Mark’s play is blisteringly funny, brilliantly written but also a huge wake-up call, examining the underbelly of life in the newsrooms of our national press.

“Verity is a terrific role and as soon as I read it I didn’t want anyone else but me playing her!”

Greg Hicks added: “The language is electric, savage and provocative. The combination of returning to the Arcola, and finding a script of this calibre, is all I can ask for as an actor.”

Mark Jagasia said: “I’m remarkably privileged to have stars of the calibre of Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins bringing these characters to life. For a debut play, it’s dream come true stuff”.

Mehmet Ergen said: “As the election looms, I’m proud that Arcola Theatre is tackling big political questions with daring political plays.”

Clare Higgins has just co-starred with Glenn Close on Broadway in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. She has been nominated six times as Best Actress in the Olivier Awards and won three times for Vincent in Brixton, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Hecuba.

Greg Hicks has been a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company since 1976. He was nominated for the Best Actor Olivier Award, and won Best Shakespearian Performance at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, for playing the title role in Coriolanus at the Old Vic.

He is returning to Arcola Theatre for the first time since playing Dr Thomas Stockmann in Mehmet Ergen’s 2008 production of An Enemy of the People.

Mark Jagasia is a former staff journalist on the Evening Standard, a former showbusiness editor of the Daily Express and a contributor to other newspapers including the Guardian and Sunday Telegraph.

Clarion plays from April 15-May 16.

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