Drip by drip, the National is teasing us with the cast reveals for Network.
Latest to be announced is Douglas Henshall who is to play Max Schumacher in this world-premiere of Lee Hall’s new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky.
Directed by Ivo van Hove, the cast also includes Tony award winner Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale, and Michelle Dockery as Diana Christenson.
War Horse puppeteers unveil The Hartlepool Monkey
The original puppeteers who helped bring War Horse to life, and went on to collaborate on Running Wild and The Lorax, are behind a new family-friendly play based on a 200-year-old legend.
Fuel, in association with Stratford Circus Arts, presents Gyre & Gimble’s The Hartlepool Monkey, which opens in Stratford Circus Arts Centre on 19 September then tours the UK, tells the story of a ship wrecked off the Hartlepool coast with just two survivors: the cabin girl and the ship’s mascot, a chimpanzee dressed in a miniature military-style uniform. Terrified of French invasion and unfamiliar with what a Frenchman should look like, the locals put the monkey on trial as a spy with grisly consequence.
- To this day, Hartlepudlians are affectionately known as ‘monkey hangers’
- During the Napoleonic Wars, most of the Hartlepool population had never met or seen a Frenchman
- During the spy trial, the Hartlepool Monkey was (unsurprisingly) unable to answer any of the court’s questions and found guilty. The townsfolk then dragged him into the town square and hanged him
- The Hartlepool Monkey legend lives on today. During football matches between local rivals Darlington and Hartlepool United, the chant, “Who hung the monkey” can often be heard
- Hartlepool United’s mascot is a monkey called H’Angus the Monkey, and the local Rugby Union team Hartlepool Rovers are known as the Monkeyhangers
“We’re very excited to be bringing this story to audiences of all ages, all over the UK. Initially attracted to the tale of The Hartlepool Monkey as it placed an animal at the centre of the narrative, we’ve since become excited about the myth from 19th Century being able to connect to the world today, in particular recent issues of insularity, xenophobia and inclusion. Our chimp we’ve created promises to be a striking new style of puppet for us and we’re assembling a multi-talented cast to bring this playful, anarchic and touching tale to life.”
“I love Mack and Mabel because it’s one of those shows where you think you don’t know it but you know every song in it. “I Won’t Send Roses”, “Time Heals Everything” and “Tap Your Troubles Away” have all invaded the public consciousness for very good reason – they are timeless classics. I am so excited to have this dream trio lead our cast – David, Natasha and Tiffany bring their sensational voices but also that touch of whimsy which this genre of musical so cries out for. I can’t wait for the 23rd!”