After the success of its sell-out premiere at Liverpool Theatre Festival in September, Swan Song, a revised comedy by acclaimed playwright Jonathan Harvey, will commence a short tour this year playing at venues opening to socially distanced audiences.
Swan Song, a one-man play starring TV and stage actor Andrew Lancel, is directed by BAFTA award-winning director Noreen Kershaw and produced by Bill Elms.
The play will open at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre for four performances over two nights, this will be the first live indoor performance at the theatre since closing in March. The show then moves on to Dukes Lancaster, Alty Fringe at the Garrick Playhouse in Altrincham, The Cresset in Peterborough and the Belgrade in Coventry. More dates are to be confirmed soon.
Swan Song was first staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997, before transferring to Hampstead Theatre with award-winning comedy actress Rebecca Front in the lead role. Jonathan Harvey adapted the 70-minute play specially for Liverpool Theatre Festival for Andrew Lancel to play the solo role of Dave Titswell. Due to critical acclaim, the play will now perform at venues this year, with a longer tour planned for Spring 2021.
Producer and the artistic director of Liverpool Theatre Festival, Bill Elms said: “Swan Song is a funny, clever and inspiring production which opened the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival. Andrew Lancel, Jonathan Harvey, and Noreen Kershaw are an incredible blend of creative talent, and the play went down a storm in Liverpool. It is such a lovely piece that I approached Andrew and the team with the idea to tour. People are excited for the return of live theatre – and we’re excited to give them that experience back after such a long time with a really special production.”
Swan Song is a bittersweet comedy written by Jonathan Harvey. Set in Liverpool, it is Christmas 1997, the world is changing and in the staff room, Gay, forty-something, English teacher Dave Titswell finds that not all change is welcome. He has a crush, but life, love, and work are never straight forward for Dave. Will a school trip to The Lakes change things for the better, or make things decidedly worse? Swan Song will make audiences laugh, but equally pull at the heartstrings. Everyone knows someone like Dave – or could even be a Dave themselves.
Andrew Lancel commented: “The last play I saw before lockdown was Jonathan Harvey’s Our Lady of Blundellsands at The Everyman Liverpool, which I loved – so it’s very cool, and a little ironic, that my first play back is with Jonathan. We have known each other for years and worked together a lot but never on stage, so it’s humbling that he has adapted this play for me. It’s very funny, moving, and I think people will really relate to it today. His characters are literally gifts to play and to watch.
“This play is about reuniting too. Reuniting theatre and audiences with live performance is extra special. To be back with Epstein producer Bill Elms is a buzz, and I’ve worked on some very serious storylines on Corrie with Noreen Kershaw. It feels like coming home for us all in so many ways.”
Award-winning Jonathan Harvey’s credits include Gimme Gimme Gimme; Murder Most Horrid; Coronation Street; Call The Midwife; and Tracey Ullman’s Show. Hisplays include Beautiful Thing, Corrie, Canary, Hushabye Mountain, Babies, Boom Bang A Bang’ and Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. He also wrote the 2001 stage musical Closer to Heaven with the Pet Shop Boys and its sequel Muzik. He has won the John Whiting Award, the George Devine Award, two Manchester Evening News Awards, an Evening Standard Award, two British Soap Awards and a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award.
To book tickets visit: www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk
Image – David Munn