Michael Attenborough directs Eduardo De Filippo's Filumena in a new English version by Tanya Ronder running at the Almeida from 15 March - 12 May 2012, with press night on 22 March at 7pm. Designs are by Robert Jones, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by John Leonard. Filumena is sponsored by Pinsent Masons.
In the balmy heat of late ‘40s Naples, Filumena Marturano lies on her deathbed waiting to marry Domenico Soriano, the man who has kept her as his mistress for twenty-five years. But no sooner has the priest completed the ceremony, than Filumena makes a miraculous recovery. As he reels in shock, Domenico discovers that this brilliant, iron-willed woman has a few more surprises for him.
The cast comprises Geoffrey Freshwater (Alfredo), Victoria Lloyd (Lucia/Teresina), Luke Norris (Riccardo), Emily Plumtree (Diana), SheiLA Reid (Rosalia), Richard Riddell (Michele), Brodie Ross (Umberto), Samantha Spiro (Filumena), Edmund Wiseman (Nocella/Waiter) and Clive Wood (Domenico).
Geoffrey Freshwater (Alfredo) has been a company member at the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2005 where he has most recently been seen in As You Like It, The Grain Store, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. His National Theatre credits include The Alchemist, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Mother. On television his credits include Law and Order UK, The Government Inspector and No Bananas.
Victoria Lloyd (Lucia/Teresina) last appeared at The Almeida Theatre in Michael Attenborough's 2009 production of Measure for Measure. Her other theatre credits include Mine at the Finborough and Desire Under the Elms for the New Vic, Newcastle. Her film credits include Godard and Others, Crews and Small Things.
Luke Norris' (Riccardo) theatre credits include War Horse, The Habit of Art and The Kitchen all for The National Theatre, and Remembrance Day for the Royal Court. His Royal Shakespeare Company credits include Days of Significance and The Gods Weep. His television credits include Skins and ITV's upcoming Titanic. On film his credits include The Duchess and Running for River.
Emily Plumtree (Diana) played the role of Nerissa in Rupert Goold's 2011 production of The Merchant of Venice for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She also played Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew in the same season. Her other theatre credits include Moonfleece at the Riverside Studios and Double Falsehood at the Union Theatre. She was nominated for a 2011 BIFA Raindance Award for playing the lead role in the film Hollow.
SheiLA Reid (Rosalia) is best known on television for playing Madge in ITV's award-winning Benidorm.
For the Royal Shakespeare Company her credits include Romeo and Juliet and Richard III. She spent seven years with Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company and more recently played the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd. For the Royal Court her credits include My Mother Said I Never Should, Black Milk and Terrorism and at the Donmar Warehouse she was seen in Into The Woods. Her film credits include Five Days One Summer, Winter Guest and Brazil. Her other television credits include Case Histories, Midsomer Murders and Justice.
Richard Riddell (Michele) played the role of Bassanio in Rupert Goold's 2011 production of The Merchant of Venice for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also played Joey in The Homecoming in the same season. His other theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors and Titus Andronicus for Shakespeare's Globe. His television credits include Misfits, Merlin and Waking The Dead. His film credits include The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Weekender and Robin Hood.
Brodie Ross (Umberto) recently played the role of Roderigo in the Sheffield Crucible production of Othello. His previous theatre credits include An Enemy of the People, also for Sheffield Crucible, and Charley's Aunt for the Royal Exchange Theatre. His television credits include Silk and Lewis. Brodie graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2009.
Olivier award-winning Samantha Spiro will make her Almeida debut in the title role of Filumena. She has most recently been seen on stage at the Sheffield Crucible in Jonathan Munby's production of Company. Her previous theatre credits include Chicken Soup with Barley and The Family Play, both for the Royal Court, Hello Dolly, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Lady Be Good, Macbeth and The Boys from Syracuse all for Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Twelfth Night for the Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's Theatre, Funny Girl for Chichester Festival Theatre and Two Thousand Years and Cleo, Camping, Emanuelle and Dick for The National Theatre. Her television credits Rock and Chips, Grandma's House, After You've Gone, Coupling and Cold Feet and her film credits include A Running Jump, Tomorrow La Scala, From Hell, Cor Blimey and Beyond Bedlam.
Edmund Wiseman's (Nocella/Waiter) theatre credits include Dennis Kelly's Osama the Hero at The Hampstead Theatre and Cheek by Jowl's production of Macbeth at the Barbican.
Clive Wood (Domenico) recently appeared in both The Tempest and Flare Path as part of Trevor Nunn's season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. His previous theatre credits include Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, Nicholas Nickleby, and the title role in Henry IV parts I and II, all for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Michael Attenborough directed Wood in the RSC productions of Antony and Cleopatra and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. His recent television credits include What To Do When Someone Dies, Waking The Dead and Land Girls. His film credits include Dirty Bomb, The Crucifer of Blood and Treasure Island.
Tanya Ronder previously wrote a new version of Lorca's Blood Wedding for the Almeida as well as Or Nearest Offer, a new play for the Almeida Youth Theatre and Chain Play II, a fundraising event for the Theatre. Her adaptation of Vernon God Little was produced by the Young Vic, who also staged Ronda's version of Peribanez. Her stage adaptation of Peter Pan was presented at Kensington Gardens. For the Royal Shakespeare Company she wrote a new version of Ionesco's Macbett.
Michael Attenborough is Artistic Director of The Almeida Theatre where his productions have been The Mercy Seat, Five Gold Rings, Brighton Rock, The Late Henry Moss, Enemies, There Came A Gypsy Riding, Big White Fog, Awake and Sing!, The Homecoming, In a Dark Dark House, When the Rain Stops Falling, Measure for Measure, Through A Glass Darkly, The Knot of the Heart and, most recently Neil LaBute's Reasons To Be Pretty. Previously, he was Associate Director at Mercury Theatre, Colchester (1972-74), Leeds Playhouse (1974-79), Young Vic (1979-80); and Artistic Director at Palace Theatre, Watford (1980-84) and Hampstead Theatre (1984-89); and was Principal Associate Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company (1990-2002). On leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company he became an Honorary Associate Artist. Attenborough's freelance work includes productions at The National Theatre, the Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway.
Italian playwright, actor, screen writer, poet and author Eduardo De Filippo's plays include Filumena, Napoli Milionaria, La Grande Magia, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and The Syndiacte.
Photo Credit: Hugo Glendennig