Prick Up Your Ears played at the Comedy Theatre until 15th November, with Michael Chadwick initally replacing Matt Lucas in the role of Kenneth Halliwell. From 22nd October Olivier award-winning and Tony award-nominated Con O'Neill took over the role. Con O'Neill starred in Nick Moran's Telstar both on stage at the New Ambassadors Theatre and recently on screen. His television credits include Waking the Dead and Criminal Justice.
Inspired exclusively by the John Lahr biography and the diaries of Joe Orton, Prick Up Your Ears examines the private lives of these two extraordinary men. With the full support of the Orton Estate, including Leonie Orton, Joe Orton’s younger sister, Prick Up Your Ears is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions and Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions. Casting for the third and final role of Mrs Corden, the neighbour, will be announced shortly.
1962. Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton - RADA graduates, aspiring playwrights, and sometime lovers - plot their rightful place at the centre of London’s literary scene whilst engaged in a secret crusade to “improve” the local library books, all in the worst possible taste of course, and acting out their own versions of popular radio dramas... with an extra dash of innuendo. But after a short interlude at Her Majesty’s pleasure, Joe is about to become the greatest, and most notorious comic playwright since Oscar Wilde, whilst Ken stays indoors re-decorating, reduced to sharing Joe’s success with their neighbour, Mrs Corden, over tea and a slice of battenburg.
Prick Up Your Ears - a darkly funny and moving play imagines what really happened when, after years of creative collaboration, the door slammed shut and Kenneth was home alone. It tells the sensational story behind the domestic life of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, holed up in a tiny flat in Islington, trading well-trodden insults and hilarious put-downs like any old married couple.
Michael Chadwick: Theatre includes: Sleuth (Les Salons, Geneva); Macbeth, Death and the Maiden, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Wycombe Swan); Three Sisters, In the Hothouse, Supermarket Shakespeare for Teatro Vivo; Rapunzel’s Last Midnight, The Chimes (White Bear); The Brick, The Romans in Britain (Man in the Moon); Richard III (international tour); Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor (tour).
Chris New, who trained at RADA, was last seen on stage in London at the Young Vic in Amazonia. His other theatre credits include Daniel Kramer’s production of Bent at the Trafalgar Studios, Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hayfever for the Royal Exchange Theatre and The Reporter for theNational Theatre. His television credits include Doctors, Silent Witness, Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me and Casualty.
For the National Theatre Simon Bent adapted John Irving’s novel A Prayer for Owen Meany where it enjoyed a sell-out run and has subsequently been produced in Washington, Boston and Philadelphia. His adaptation of Elling starring John Simm, which opened at the Bush Theatre in 2007, transferred to the Trafalgar Studios and has recently begun a run at the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf 1 in Australia. His play The Associate was also seen at the National, in 2002. Simon Bent’s other plays include Goldhawk Road, Wasted, The Escapologist, Shelter, Under the Black Flag, Accomplices and Sugar SugarHis television writing credits include the BAFTA nominated Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry, Beau Brummell, The Yellow House and Sex, the City and Me.
Theatre and Opera Director Daniel Kramer has previously directed Pictures from an Exhibition - a co-production between Sadler’s Wells and the Young Vic, Punch & Judy for the English National Opera at the Young Vic for which he received the South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, Angels in America for Headlong, Woyzeck at St Anne’s Warehouse, New York, Bent starring Alan Cumming and Chris New at Trafalgar Studios, Hair and Woyzeck for the Gate Theatre, and Through the Leaves at Southwark Playhouse which transferred to the Duchess Theatre in the West End. Next month Kramer will direct Prima Dona, a new opera by Rufus Wainwright, which premieres at the Manchester International Festival and later this year he will direct Duke Bluebeard’s Castle for English National Opera.