The Epstein Theatre’s run of The Last 5 Years was one of the theatrical hits of the year – and the company behind it is continuing with the Broadway vibes to bring Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys to town next month.
While most venues will have gone dark for August, Life in Theatre productions will be staging a three week run of the vaudeville classic from August 15 to September 7 – and founder Stephen Fletcher has spoken about his vision for the company to operate as an old-style rep.
Full casting for the show has been confirmed today to reveal a cast bursting with some of the city’s top talent. We already knew Andrew Schofield and Alan Stocks will be playing the lead roles of Al Lewis – the laid-back, smiling assassin – and cantankerous old clown Willie Clark. They will be joined by Liam Tobin, most recently seen in the Unity’s When the Rain Stops Falling; The Last 5 Years’s Jamie and Cathy, Stephen Fletcher and Helen Carter; and Michael Fletcher, LIPA graduate, top 20 finalist in ITV1’s Search for a Superstar, and brother of Stephen.
Stephen Fletcher said: “So many people who saw The Last 5 Years said they had never seen anything like it before, that they didn’t expect to see anything like this in Liverpool, or didn’t think it would be for them- it just proves that if something is made accessible for people then they will try anything- and love it. It’s a hope that the same will be true for The Sunshine Boys.
“We’re delighted to be introducing some new faces to our team, as well as bringing back some old-timers from previous productions. We’re creating a version of an old rep company- where an actor is a lead role in one play and then a smaller cameo style role in the next. I think audiences enjoy seeing an actor’s versatility and following their career. With this company, we are trying to tap into other talents as well – Michael along with Helen will be designing the costume and set.”
Regarded as Simon’s masterpiece, The Sunshine Boys centres on fading stars Al Lewis and Willie Clark, a one-time vaudevillian double-act, who, throughout their 40 year career, grew to hate and despise each other. In 1972 New York, CBS invite the comedy duo to be re-united for a nostalgic TV special. Forced together once again, their old rivalry resurfaces and hilarious shenanigans occur as they prepare to take centre stage for one final time.
Its Liverpool run has the support of West End producer Sonia Friedman, following her recent production of this play starring Danny DeVito and the late Richard Griffiths.