King Lear to open the new season
several years ago and said they wanted to do this. They sent me a song, then a little later on they sent me another and I was thinking ‘this isn’t going to be ready until 2030’. Then last year they contacted me to say they’d finished it. They sent me the script, which I approved and I asked if they’d like to come to Scarborough to play it through for me here, which they obligingly did and I liked it enough to want to proceed.”
The original play tells the story of Kevin, a young boy who falls asleep and falls into the story of his literary hero Rockfist Slim. Once in Rockfist’s world, Kevin and his new friend find themselves jumping from story to story, travelling through different books and different genres.
It’s a style of play at which Ayckbourn excels – something that captures the imaginations of young audiences while genuinely appealing to more mature theatre goers.
Composer Eric Angus says: ““It struck me from the start as a great story for a musical – strong characters, great set-pieces and a variety of fun settings.”
Lyricist Paul James says: “It’s a buddy movie, a road-trip, a quest where two unlikely partners must learn to cooperate to survive. It’s also, in the most enjoyable, least p pretentious way possible, a meditation on such things as childhood, the act of reading a and imagination. I loved it.”
So the deal was done and Ayckbourn, whose 78th play also premieres at the seaside theatre this summer, was slated to direct The Boy Who Fell Into a Book, the Musical.
It must have been odd to be handed a project inspired by a piece of work he had written and then be given the responsibility of bringing it to the stage. “It was very interesting,” he says. “Paul not only trimmed the book, but wrote all the lyrics as well. I think they’ve, all of them, caught the spirit of the play very closely. Paul, Cathy and Eric obviously love the piece. I think, gratifyingly, they are as passionate about it as I was when I first wrote the play. It’s for anyone who ever secretly read under the bed clothes as a child and who has ever been captivated by a story.” THE Globe’s much praised production of King Lear will open the new season at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond.
Starring Joseph Marcell, best known for playing Geoffrey in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, in the title role, the fast-paced telling of the tragedy also sees Game of Thrones actor John Stahl as the Duke of Gloucester.
King Lear will run from August 27 to 30. For tickets at the Richmond theatre call the box office on 01748 825252, www.georgiantheatreroyal. co.uk