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Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan and Zoë Wanamaker to star in Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party

Monday, 11 September 2017

Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) is the only lodger at Meg (Zoë Wanamaker) and Petey Boles’ sleepy seaside boarding house. The unsettling arrival of enigmatic strangers Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants and their friend Lulu, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare. Truth and alliances hastily shift in Pinter's brilliantly mysterious dark-comic masterpiece about the absurd terrors of the everyday.

Following critically-acclaimed productions of Betrayal and Old Times, Ian Rickson returns to direct a new production of Harold Pinter’s landmark play, The Birthday Party. Starring in this comedy of menace are trio of Olivier Award winners, Golden Globe Award-nominated Toby Jones (The Girl, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Infamous), Tony Award-nominated Stephen Mangan (The Norman Conquests, Jeeves and Wooster, Episodes) and Tony Award-nominated Zoë Wanamaker CBE (Electra, Passion Play, My Family). This will be the seventh Harold Pinter play that Sonia Friedman has produced, three of which have been directed by Ian Rickson, who also directed Pinter himself in his last performance as an actor in Krapp’s Last Tape. It is also the ninth production directed by Ian Rickson that Sonia Friedman has produced.

Ian Rickson said: “I knew Harold from when I ran the Royal Court and he was a great mentor to me. Doing The Birthday Party is particularly thrilling because as with the best first major plays - like first albums, and first novels - it has the intense DNA of the writer’s inner life; their yearnings, their obsessions, their longings. There’s something about The Birthday Party in particular that’s so raw and committed - it has this kind of anarchic, punk spirit and I’m just so excited about directing it.

British Actor TOBY JONES is known for his roles both in the theatre and on screen. Earlier this year Toby finished filming both French comedy film Naked Normandy for Philippe le Gay, and next year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Toby has a further four films out later this year including - Universal Pictures’ crime drama The Snowman, psychological indie thriller, Kaleidoscope, Lionsgate’s World War One drama Journey’s End and Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or nominated film, Happy End. Toby will also reprise his BAFTA-nominated role later this year in the third season of the award-winning comedy series Detectorists, written by and co-starring Mackenzie Crook. Toby's other works include ‎Infamous, where Toby played ‘Truman Capote’ for which he won Best British Actor at the London Film Critics Circle Awards. In 2011, Toby starred in the Oscar-nominated adaptation of John le Carre’s classic crime novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the year after, Toby garnered huge critical acclaim for his performance as Alfred Hitchcock in the HBO/BBC television movie The Girl, for which he received a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Emmy nomination. That year also saw Toby play the lead in Peter Strickland’s multi award-winning film Berberian Sound Studio. In 2014, Toby starred as the lead in the BBC Two BAFTA winning drama Marvellous, and the following year in Matteo Garrone’s fantasy horror, Tale Of Tales.

Further credits include: Atomic Blonde, Sherlock, Dad’s Army, The Secret Agent, The Witness For The Prosecution, Morgan, Wayward Pines, Capital, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Hunger Games series, the Harry Potter series, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Leave to Remain, Andrew Kotting’s By Ourselves, My Week With Marilyn, The Adventures Of Tintin, Frost/Nixon, W and The Painted Veil.

Theatre credits include: Circle Mirror Transformation, The Painter, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Parlour Song, Dumb Waiter and Other Pinter Pieces, Measure for Measure (with Complicite), The Play What I Wrote (winner: Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor).

STEPHEN MANGAN is a stage, film, television and voice actor. After graduating from Cambridge University and then RADA, Stephen began his acting career in the theatre. In 2008 he starred in The Norman Conquests at The Old Vic and then on Broadway. Stephen was nominated for a Tony Award and the play won Best Revival. Other theatre credits include: Birthday, The People Are Friendly (Royal Court Theatre), Jeeves and Wooster (Duke of York’s Theatre), Hayfever (Savoy Theatre), Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC) and Rules For Living (National Theatre).

Stephen has an extensive list of television credits. He plays the lead role of Sean Lincoln in the comedy series Episodes, opposite Tamsin Greig and Matt LeBlanc; Series 5 is to be broadcast next year. Next year he can also be seen starring in the new comedy series Bliss for Sky Atlantic, Hang Ups for Channel 4 and Abi Morgan’s new BBC1/AMC drama The Split. Previous TV credits include the BAFTA-winning British sitcom Green Wing, Free Agents, Dirk Gently, in which he played the title role, Houdini & Doyle.

Stephen’s film credits include Breathe, Billy Elliot, Birthday, Postman Pat: The Movie (Voice), Rush, Beyond the Pole, ConfettiThe multi-award-winning 

ZOE WANAMKER CBE is one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation, with a career that spans both stage and screen. She is a four-time Tony Award nominee, and a nine-time Olivier Award nominee, winning the Best Actress Award twice for Electra and Once In A Lifetime. Her career has taken her from the RSC to the National Theatre via Broadway, the Royal Court, the West End and the Donmar Warehouse. Her varied television career has included the much-loved BBC sitcom My Family, along with Poirot and Mr. Selfridge. She received a BAFTA nomination for her role in the film Wilde, with other film credits including Harry Potter and My Week With Marilyn. Zoë will be appearing in the Sky/Amazon collaboration ‘Britannia’ (2017) as Queen Antedia and in Girlfriends for ITV.

Her film credits include: My Week With Marilyn, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Five Children and It, Harry Potter, Swept from the Sea, Wilde, The Raggedy Rawney, The Hunger, Inside the Third Reich, The Last 10 Days of Hitler.

Television includes: Girlfriends, Inside No. 9, Babs, Britannia, Mr Selfridge, Poirot, Wodehouse in Exile, The Man, My Family, Old Curiosity Shop, Johnny and the Bomb, Waste of Shame, Dr Who, Miss Marple, The Cappuccino Years, David Copperfield, Leprechaun, Gormanghast, A Dance to the Music of Time, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, The English Wife, Countless Alice, Memento Mori, The Blackheath Poisonings, Love Hurts and Prime Suspect.

IAN RICKSON Ian was Artistic Director at the Royal Court from 1998 to 2006, during which time he directed Krapp’s Last Tape, The Winterling, Alice Trilogy, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Fallout, The Night Heron, Boy Gets Girl, Mouth to Mouth (also in the West End), Dublin Carol, The Weir (also in the West End and on Broadway), The Lights, Pale Horse and Mojo (also at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), Ashes & Sand, Some Voices and Killers. His last production for the Royal Court, The Seagull, transferred to Broadway. Other theatre includes Against (The Almeida), The Goat (West End), The Nest (Lyric, Belfast and Young Vic), Evening At The Talkhouse (NT), The Red Lion ((NT), The River (Broadway), Electra (Old Vic), Mojo (West End), Old Times (West End), The River (Royal Court), Hamlet (Young Vic), Jerusalem (Royal Court, West End and Broadway), Betrayal (Comedy Theatre), The Children’s Hour (Comedy Theatre), The Hothouse and The Day I Stood Still (NT), Parlour Song (Almeida), Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, New York), The House of Yes (Gate) and Me & My Friend (Chichester Festival Theatre). Film includes: Fallout, Krapp’s Last Tape and The Clear Road Ahead. Radio; In Therapy (Radio 4).

HAROLD PINTER CH CBE Harold Pinter was born in London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 until his death on Christmas Eve 2008. (They were married in 1980).

After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Central School of Speech and Drama, he worked as an actor under the stage name David Baron. Following his success as a playwright, he continued to act under his own name, on stage and screen. He last acted in 2006 when he appeared in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Ian Rickson.He wrote twenty-nine plays including The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter, A Slight Ache, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, The Collection, The Lover, The Homecoming, Old Times, No Man’s Land, Betrayal, A Kind of Alaska, One For The Road, The New World Order, Moonlight and Ashes to Ashes.  Sketches include The Black and White, Request Stop, That’s your Trouble, Night, Precisely, Apart From That, and the recently rediscovered Umbrellas.

He directed twenty-seven theatre productions, including James Joyce's Exiles, David Mamet's Oleanna, seven plays by Simon Gray (one of which was Butley in 1971 which he directed the film of three years later) and many of his own plays including his last, Celebration, paired with his first, The Room at the Almeida Theatre, London in the spring of 2000.

He wrote twenty-one screenplays including The Pumpkin Eater, The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant's Woman and Sleuth.

In 2005 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other awards include the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D’Honneur, the European Theatre Prize the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D'Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature. Harold Pinter was awarded eighteen honorary degrees.

The production will be designed by the Quay Brothers, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker, music by Stephen Warbeck and casting by Amy Ball.

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