You See the Thing Is This: Terry Johnson transfers Ken to The Bunker

Terry Johnson’s Ken will be opening The Bunker’s bold spring season, marking the ten year anniversary of the death of the truly unique talent of writer, comic and theatrical maverick, Ken Campbell.

The production follows a highly successful run at Hampstead Downstairs and pays tribute to a one-off original.

Olivier and Tony Award-winning writer Terry Johnson (Prism, Hampstead Theatre; Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, National Theatre; Dead Funny, Hampstead Theatre and West End) and Jeremy Stockwell will be reprising their roles in this joyful, off-the-wall production.

It’s 1978, London. A 23-year-old aspiring playwright in a rundown flat-share off the North End Road is wrestling with his masterpiece for the Royal Court.

The house phone rings, the young man answers… it is a call for the person who used to occupy his room who has recently moved to Amsterdam.

But even once this information is imparted, the man at the other end doesn’t hang up. He’s called Ken. And he’s about to change the young man’s life forever.

Terry Johnson said: “Ken Campbell was a true original – a theatrical maverick, unique comedic thinker, legendary practical joker and an inspiration to many of us.

“He was also my friend, champion, and occasional nemesis.

“I’m so proud to have the opportunity to present our tribute to a wider audience at The Bunker, following our enjoyable and cathartic run at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.

“For those who knew him, I hope we’ve evoked his spirit as you remember him. For those who never met him; hold on to your seats.

“Our show is an enjoyable, unpredictable, slightly bonkers journey in the company of the most influential man I ever met. Please join us”.

Directed by Theatre503’s artistic director, Lisa Spirling, Ken is the retelling of an extraordinary friendship from beginning to end, replete with wickedly funny anecdotes, magnificent hoaxes, and general chaotic lunacy – all infused with the spirit of the great man…

Jeremy Stockwell first performed at the National Theatre 30 years ago, directed by Ken Campbell. Stand-up comedy, sit down tragedy, clown, mime, and improvisation then took over.

And, with Theatre Machine’s Roddy Maude-Roxby and Ben Benison, he formed Alice’s Diner; devising new work for the National, Barbican, BAC, and the Royal Gala opening of Shakespeare’s Globe – where he played the Fool with his bottom on fire.

Later this year, to celebrate Spike Milligan’s centenary, he will be playing Spike in the stage production, A Sockful of Custard, which he wrote with Chris Larner.

Ken runs at London’s Bunker Theatre from January 24 to February 24.

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