The Dresser, Starring Julian Clary & Matthew Kelly

Image copyright Alastair Muir

Ronald Harwood’s highly acclaimed drama The Dresser starring the much loved UK entertainer Julian Clary as Norman and Olivier Award winner Matthew Kelly as ‘Sir’. Directed by Olivier Award-winning Terry Johnson, The Dresser is coming to the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford next month.

Joining Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly in the cast are: Emma Amos as Her Ladyship, Rebecca Charles as Madge, Natalie Servat as Irene, Pip Donaghy as Geoffrey Thornton, Samuel Holmes as Mr Oxenby, Robert Shaw Cameron as Kent, Peter Yapp as Gloucester, Stephen Cavanagh as Albany, with Claire Jeater and Michaela Bennison in the ensemble.

Inspired by memories of working as Donald Wolfit’s dresser as a young man, Ronald Harwood’s evocative, affectionate and hilarious portrait of backstage life is regarded as one of the most acclaimed dramas of modern theatre.

It is 1942 and in a war-torn provincial theatre an aging actor-manager, known to his loyal acting company as ‘Sir’, is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his 227th performance of King Lear. For 16 years Norman, Sir’s devoted dresser, has been there to fix Sir’s wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene. It is down to Norman to ensure that in spite of everything, the show goes on.

The Oscar-nominated 1983 film version of The Dresser, starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, was filmed in several locations around Yorkshire, including at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford. This was just before the theatre closed for extensive refurbishment in 1984. The film’s producers were looking for a 1940s touring theatre and they chose the Alhambra Theatre, which at that time, hadn’t been renovated, so it still looked as it did when it was built in 1914.

Julian Clary has performed across the world and is renowned for his many successes across television, radio, film, writing and stand-up comedy. His roles on stage include Leigh Bowery in Boy George’s Taboo (West End and national tour), the Emcee in Rufus Norris’s Olivier Award winning production of Cabaret (West End), and Le Grand Mort (Trafalgar Studios). Julian also regularly performs in panto and will return to the London Palladium this Christmas. His many TV credits include Trick or Treat, Saturday Night Live, Sticky Moments, Terry and Julian, All Rise, Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and QI. He toured the UK earlier this year with his latest one-man comedy show Born To Mince.

Matthew Kelly is an Olivier Award winning actor who is also well known for presenting the television series Stars in their Eyes and You Bet!. Matthew Kelly’s West End credits include Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees, Big The Musical (Dominion), Funny Peculiar, Sign of the Times,
Lend Me A Tenor!, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and as Lennie in Of Mice and Men (Savoy) for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Other recent theatre credits include Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, Pride & Prejudice (Regents Park & UK Tour), and Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare’s Globe). His many television credits include the award-winning Cold Blood, Benidorm, Bleak House and Moving On.

Ronald Harwood was an Academy Award, Palme d’Or and BAFTA-winning screenwriter and playwright. His plays include Taking Sides, Equally Divided and Quartet. His screenplay for the film of The Dresser received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay. His films include the Academy Award winning The Pianist, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Love in the Time of Cholera.

Terry Johnson is a dramatist and director who has won numerous theatre awards including two Olivier Awards as a playwright for Best Comedy and a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage Aux Folles. Other West End credits include The Libertine, End of the Rainbow, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Duck House, Whipping It Up and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He recently directed Uncle Vanya at the Hampstead Theatre and has previously directed Mrs. Henderson Presents, Hysteria and The Libertine at Bath.

The Alhambra Theatre
Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 February 2022
Tickets £39.50 – £17.50*
Call the Box Office on 01274 432000 or visit bradford-theatres.co.uk
*All prices shown include booking fees but are subject to postage charge if applicable.
Bradford Theatres’ usual terms and conditions apply.

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