A musical play about deception, international relations and chickens is the latest offering from the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Cox & Box – Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy.
Sir Arthur Sullivan’s original one act comic opera, Cox & Box, has been reinvented with a brand new sequel written by SJT artistic director Chris Monks and composer Richard Atkinson.
It plays in the Scarborough theatre’s McCarthy auditorium from July 3 to August 30.
Cox is an apprentice hatter who works by day, and Box, a printer who works by night. Under the swift broom of landlady Mrs Bouncer (Paul Ryan), the two unknowingly share the same room…and that’s not all they have in common.
Tempers flare and it’s not long before the guns come out.
Fast forward to beyond the present day and the recently elected UZIP party has repatriated all migrant workers.
Polish twin sisters Urszula and Krystyna are secretly sharing a room in a rundown B&B and it’s only a matter of time before their unscrupulous landlord Bob Narks finds out.
But further outrageous revelations (and livestock) are set to come out of the woodwork.
Said Chris: “I’ve always admired Cox and Box.
It’s the wellspring of Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical style and has some terrific tunes.
Burnand’s book and lyrics, based on Maddison Morton’s original farce, are crafted to perfection.
The problem is it’s only an hour long, so I hit on the idea of a sequel, visiting Bouncer’s boarding house to see who would be living there 150 years later.”
Composer and Musical Director Richard Atkinson added: “We’ll be bringing all the comic elements, sparkling melodies and farcical qualities associated with the original into our companion piece but more in keeping with modern musical theatre.”
Actor Paul Ryan, seen as Harry in Mamma Mia in the West End and previously at the SJT in The Importance Of Being Earnest and Cinderella, returns as Mrs Bouncer and Bob Narks.
He performs alongside Lara Stubbs and Charlotte Harwood.
Lara, playing Cox and Urszula, is an associate artist of Barbershopera and won the Best Actress award for her performance in the company’s The Barber of Shavingham at the Daegu International Musical Festival.
Charlotte Harwood, playing Box and Krystyna, appeared at last year’s Edinburgh Festival in Get Got and her musical theatre credits include West Yorkshire Playhouse and Garrick Theatre’s Loserville and the national tour of Legally Blonde.
The actors will also perform in Screenplay, directed by SJT associate director Henry Bell, which runs in rep from August 1-30 and comprises commissions from four new writers.