The big news of the day has been the announcement former EastEnder Samantha Womack will be coming to the Royal Court stage in March, in the title role of Scot Williams’s new play Hope.
Writer and star Williams had been teasing his Twitter followers in the run up to the big reveal, which unites the actress on stage with her husband, Mark Womack, for the very first time.
The debut production from Thirty7, a new company set up by Williams and Eric Woollard-White, Hope is set to be another intriguing and attention-grabbing show for the Royal Court – that seems to have really taken on some fresh ideas since re-opening after the summer refurb.
Bringing in shows at the tail end of last year like Les Dennis’s Jigsy, and the venue becoming the home of the Liverpool Shakespeare Festival, saw a bit more diversity sneaking into the programme than the back-to-back Scouse plays that had become the norm. Even the disaster that was casting David Gest in its home-grown Christmas show Nightmare on Lime Street seemed to be a bit more experimental than usual – and initially, it worked, garnering national headlines. Shame he couldn’t be bothered to turn up.
Similarly, they’ve done it again, with the Hope announcement breaking in the Mirror today. Poor old Sam won’t be able to so much as pop out for a curly blow at Voodou without ending up in the Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. It’s a bit of a PR godsend for a theatre in these austere times.
And all that aside, the show looks set to be something quite different to anything seen on the Royal Court stage in recent years. A comedy thriller blending Williams’s gangster flick credentials and style with the star power of the Womacks, could make for a memorable piece of theatre. The cast is completed by actor René Zagger.
Hope is described as “a darkly comical love story wrapped within an intriguing psychological thriller, with (Samantha) Womack’s mysterious title character, Hope, being the keeper of a secret at the heart of the story.”
Samantha Womack, last seen in the city performing in South Pacific at the Empire last year, said: “Hope is a beautifully written play with four powerful characters that are as funny as they are disturbing, who come together in a story that will grip the audience from start to finish.
“It’s wonderful to be acting opposite Mark on stage for the first time, not just because he is my husband, which adds an extra edge, but also because it’s his and Scot’s birth city and Liverpool always feels like home to me,” she added, possibly just to make sure it got in the Echo.
Hope will run from March 6 to 30, with tickets now available from the box office on 0870 787 1866 or online at: www.royalcourtliverpool.co.uk.