Succession’s Cox plays Bach at Bath

SCOTTISH actor Brian Cox, best known now for his towering performance as Logan Roy in HBO’s hugely praised Succession, takes on another giant role as Johann Sebastian Bach in Oliver Cotton’s play, The Score, which has its world premiere at Bath Theatre Royal from Thursday 12th to Saturday 28th October, directed by Trevor Nunn, former artistic director of the National Theatre and the RSC.

Spring 1747, Potsdam, Prussia, Bach reluctantly visits the court of Frederick II, Europe’s most ambitious and dangerous leader. The two men could hardly be more different. As the Age of Enlightenment dawns, they stand in opposite camps. Bach is deeply religious, Frederick is an atheist. Bach loathes war, Frederick revels in it. Bach studies scripture, Frederick reads military history.

But Frederick is in awe of Bach’s genius and has mischievously prepared a musical conundrum that he hopes will baffle the composer and amuse his court. The explosive events of the following days could not have been predicted by either man.

With a career spanning more than 60 years, double Olivier Award-winner Brian Cox has worked across stage, film, television and radio, with many of the world’s leading theatre companies and directors. Film credits include the title role in Churchill, Argyle Wallace in Braveheart, Ward Abbott in The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, Killearn in Rob Roy and Nathan in The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Nicole Ansari-Cox joins her husband on stage as Bach’s wife Anna. Her screen credits include Succession and Law and Order, films including Lawrence After Arabia, Remember Me and What a Feeling, and stage credits in Europe and America, including starring in the original production of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, directed by Trevor Nunn.

Frederick II is played by Stephen Hagan, recently seen as Tom Fisher in The Larkins. This is the third time he has worked with Trevor Nunn after starring in Cyrano de Bergerac at Chichester Festival Theatre and Oliver Cotton’s Dessert at Southwark Playhouse. His RSC appearances include Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, The Comedy of Errors and The Tempest.

The French writer, satirist and philosopher Voltaire is played by Peter de Jersey, an RSC regular and associate artist, who has also appeared at the National Theatre, Donmar, Almeida, Young Vic and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. His television credits include Holby City, Line of Duty, The Bill, This Time with Alan Partridge and Broadchurch.

Other roles are played by Matthew Burns as Carl, Doña Croll as Emilia, Christopher Staines as Quantz, Benedict Salter as Graun, Will Kerr, Geoffrey Towers, Jimmy Gladdon, Toby Webster and Rebecca Thornhill.

Sir Trevor Nunn is one of the foremost directors of his generation, working in theatre, film and television. He has been artistic director of both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and has directed extensively in the West End and on Broadway. His numerous credits include the original West End productions of Les Misérables, Cats, Starlight Express and Sunset Boulevard; and the Olivier Award-winning Summerfolk, Troilus and Cressida, The Merchant of Venice and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Previously at the Theatre Royal Bath, he has directed Arcadia in 1993, Betrayal in 1999 and Relative Values in 2013. He has received numerous Olivier Awards, Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards for his work and was knighted in 2002.

The creative team also includes Robert Jones, set and costume designer, Johanna Town, lighting designer, and Sophie Cotton, sound design and additional composition, and Cordelia Monsey, associate director.