Gillian Anderson among stars lined up for ‘unrehearsed’ play – The Guardian

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Gillian Anderson among stars lined up for ‘unrehearsed’ play – The Guardian

Murder mystery will have a different guest actor each night being fed lines by earpiece





Gillian Anderson







Gillian Anderson and the other guest actors are giving their time for free to help the theatre raise funds.
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Actors including Gillian Anderson, Joanna Lumley, Meera Syal, Jim Broadbent and Damian Lewis are to appear on stage in a murder mystery where their lines will be fed to them through an earpiece.

The Park Theatre in north London has revealed details of an eye-catching play in which one of the main characters will be played by a series of actors who have had no rehearsal, direction or access to the script.

Whodunnit (Unrehearsed) will feature a different guest performer each night. Other names so far are Catherine Tate, Juliet Stevenson, Maureen Lipman, Ruby Wax, Tim Vine, John Bishop, Clive Anderson, Simon Callow, Ronan Keating, Marcus Brigstocke and Gyles Brandreth.

After a two-week run in London in July, the concept will be repeated at the Edinburgh Fringe in August with more guest performers yet to be announced.

Gillian Anderson said the theatre, which gets no public subsidy, needed to raise more than £250,000 a year just to keep the doors open.

“The monies raised from this production’s higher ticket prices will support their core ambition to present accessible theatre over the coming years and to further their work with the local community,” she said. “A number of £10 day tickets will also be available. I do hope people will come and enjoy, and reap the benefit of supporting this fantastic cause.”

Audiences will not know in advance which guest actor they will see. Other actors in the company will have rehearsed the play, which will also feature the pre-recorded voices of Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench.

Each guest actor will be fed their lines through an earpiece and will endeavour to solve the crime, set in an isolated manor, in real time.

Vine said he was looking forward to a “unique theatrical experience”. He said: “To be honest, I’m often on stage with no idea what I’m supposed to be doing and a strange voice in my head, so this ought to be a piece of cake.”

All the guest actors are giving their time gratis. The theatre’s artistic director, Jez Bond, said: “We’re very fortunate that the leading actors in our country understand the power and importance of smaller-scale theatres and the challenges they face.”

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