TV favourite Gwen Taylor is to star in Emlyn Williams’psychological thriller Night Must Fall which is set to tour this autumn.
Produced by The Original Theatre Company and Salisbury Playhouse, in association with Eastbourne Theatres, Night Must Fall will be directed by Luke Sheppard.
Charming, smooth-talking, Dan arrives at old Mrs Bramson’s remote woodland home and soon ingratiates himself into her life and that of her niece, Olivia. But when a local woman goes missing – and is later found murdered – Olivia begins to suspect her aunt’s new private assistant and resolves to find out the truth.
Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free.
Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Gwen is currently playing Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.
Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley Valentine, Top Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).
Joining Gwen will be Daragh O’Malley, best known for his role as Patrick Harper in the long-running television series Sharpe.
After a 12-year absence from theatre work, O’Malley returned to the British stage in 2012, playing Father Jack in the Original Theatre Company’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa.
In 2014, he played Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, for which he was nominated for an MTA Best Actor Award.
Also in the cast are Alasdair Buchan, Anne Odeke, Mandi Symonds and Melissa Vaughan. Further casting to be announced.
Luke Sheppard, who recently directed the Olivier Award-winning production of In the Heights, said: “It’s a privilege to direct this extraordinary play just over eighty years since the first performance.
“It’s a gripping murder mystery with delightfully dark characters. I’m looking forward to audiences around the country discovering all the chills and thrills this rarely produced classic holds in store.”
Emlyn Williams wrote Night Must Fall in 1935 and played the lead role in the first stage production. The play was noted for its exploration of the killer’s complex psychological state, a step forward for its genre. Robert Montgomery starred in the film version in 1937 and Albert Finney in the 1964 re-make.
Alastair Whatley, artistic director of The Original Theatre Company, said: “We are delighted to be working with Salisbury Playhouse and Eastbourne Theatres to present this major revival of Emlyn Williams’s wickedly good thriller.
“We could not be more pleased to be welcoming a first class creative team led by director Luke Sheppard, furthering our ambition to produce the highest quality regional theatre and sharing it with our venue partners and audiences across the United Kingdom.”
Gareth Machin, artistic director of Salisbury Playhouse, added: “We are thrilled to be working with some of the most exciting young creative talents in the UK who we know will breathe new life into this fine psychological thriller.”
2016 Tour Dates
August 19-September 3, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
September 6-24, Salisbury Playhouse
September 28-October 1, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
October 17-22, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
November 1-5, Palace Theatre, Southend
November 8-12, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
November 15-19, York Theatre Royal