BATH audiences will be the first to see a new production of Ronald Harwood’s classic drama of back-stage life, The Dresser, starring Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly, at the Theatre Royal from Thursday 9th to Saturday 18th September,.
It is 1942 and in a war-torn provincial theatre an aging actor-manager, known to his loyal acting company as ‘Sir’, is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his 227th performance of King Lear. It is down to Norman, Sir’s devoted dresser, to ensure that in spite of everything, the show goes on. For 16 years Norman has been there to fix Sir’s wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene.
Written in 1980 by Ronald Harwood, and inspired by his memories of working as Donald Wolfit’s dresser as a young man, this evocative, affectionate and hilarious portrait of backstage life is one of the most acclaimed dramas of modern theatre.
A unique talent, television star, camp comedian, brilliant pantomime performer and all round entertainer, Julian Clary stars as Norman. His roles on stage include playing Leigh Bowery in Boy George’s Taboo in the West End and on tour, including the Theatre Royal Bath and the Emcee in Rufus Norris’s Olivier Award winning production of Cabaret in the West End. His many television credits include Trick or Treat, Saturday Night Live, Sticky Moments, Terry and Julian, All Rise, Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and QI. He recently toured the UK with his one-man comedy Born To Mince.
Matthew Kelly, who stars as ‘Sir’, has many West End credits to his name, including Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and the role of Lennie in Of Mice and Men at the Savoy Theatre, for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor.
The production is directed by Olivier Award-winning Terry Johnson.