With his commedia dell'arte-inspired smash hit One Man, Two Guvnors, Richard Bean has a proven knack for engaging with a variety of comic traditions. Lauded by critics on both sides of the Atlantic for its satirical and slapstick humour, Bean's 2011 comedy enjoyed immensely successful runs at the National Theatre and on Broadway. The award-winning writer is now back at the National with a new play to be staged in the Olivier Theatre, Jack Absolute Flies Again, this time drawing inspiration from Restoration comedy.
Co-written with Oliver Chris, the new play is adapted from Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals. Bean and Chris transpose the wit of Sheridan's 18th-century comedy of manners to the year 1940, replacing aristocratic country gentlemen with RAF officers during the Battle of Britain. Jack Absolute Flies Again will open at the NT to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The play follows the amorous intrigues of fighter pilot Jack Absolute. As he contends with the Luftwaffe in the skies, back at the base he must battle rival suitors to win the heart of his old flame Lydia Languish. But matters are complicated as Lydia demands to be loved on her terms, and chaos ensues as Jack’s advances lead to a series of misunderstandings and confrontations.
Jack Absolute Flies Again stars Laurie Davidson as the eponymous hero and Natalie Simpson as Lydia Languish. Caroline Quentin, perhaps best known for starring in 90s sitcom Men Behaving Badly, plays Mrs Malaprop, the main comic figure of the show. Quentin has no problem bringing to life the witty language of Restoration comedy, having recently performed in the RSC production of Sir John Vanbrugh’s 1697 comedy The Provoked Wife. Thea Sharrock directs this production, with her last show at the National, After The Dance, winning four Olivier awards.
Public booking for Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre opens on Friday 6 December
|What||Jack Absolute Flies Again, National Theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
15 Apr 20 – 20 Jun 20, 12:00 AM
|Price||£20 - £60|
|Website||Click here for more information|