Following the critical success of last year’s A Government Inspector, Northern Broadsides’ associate director Conrad Nelson and playwright Deborah McAndrew once again team up with The Grand Gesture. Based on Nikolai Erdman’s rarely-performed comic classic The Suicide, this pitch-black, break-neck farce of a man living on the edge comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from Tuesday 12th to Saturday 16th November.
Simeon Duff is desperate. After a failed last-ditch attempt to solve his problems by learning to play the tuba, he finally decides there’s only one way out: suicide.
As word spreads of Simeon’s intentions, the whole community wants in on the act. The death of Duff need not be in vain, with every cause in town – whether it be for politics, religion, or the rising price of fish – wanting to claim it as their own. With the clock ticking, and martyrdom up for grabs, a farce like no other plays out before the final curtain.
Set within the North’s Anglo-Irish community, and told with a beguiling musical blend of Irish folk and heavenly choir, this biting social satire looks at life as commodity, death as P.R., and sacrifice as deed up for sale.
This is the latest classic foreign comedy playwright Deborah McAndrew has transferred to a contemporary British setting, following Accidental Death of an Anarchist and A Government Inspector. Speaking about The Grand Gesture, she said, “It seems like a very macabre subject, and the comedy is very black at times, but ultimately it affirms both the dignity and worth of every human life, and the collective responsibility we have for each other.”
Michael Hugo (Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Northern Broadsides) leads the ensemble cast as Simeon Duff, with local actress Samantha Robinson as his wife Mary. Samantha has appeared regularly at the Everyman and Playhouse, including 2008’s Proper Clever, 2009’s Three Sisters on Hope Street, and most recently in 2011’s Dead Heavy Fantastic.
The rest of the cast includes Hester Arden (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Northern Broadsides); Angela Bain (A Man of No Importance, Salisbury Playhouse); Paul Barnhill (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Regents Park); Sophia Hatfield (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Northern Broadsides); Alan McMahon (Canterbury Tales, Northern Broadsides); Dyfrig Morris (As you Like It, Clwyd Theatr Cymru); Rob Pickavance (Wind in the Willows, Birmingham Rep); Howard Chadwick (A Government Inspector, Northern Broadsides) and Claire Storey (The Good Teacher, Nottingham Playhouse).
Tickets are priced from £10 to £23. Tickets are available from the Box office, by 0151 7094776 or online at www.everymanplayhouse.com.