Karena Johnson, Artistic Director of Hoxton Hall, today announces full cast for the world première of Oranges and Elephants, the first production in the venue’s all-female spring season Female Parts. The musical centres on two rival female gangs in Victorian London blending Music Hall, Fairground and Musical Theatre storytelling. Susie McKenna directs a cast of actor-musicians: Kate Adams (Flo), Rebecca Bainbridge (Ada), Susannah van den Berg (Chair), Rosalind Ford(Nora), Liz Kitchen (Annie), Natasha Lewis (Violet), Sinead Long (Mary), Kate Marlais (Maggie), Christina Tedders (Nellie) and Sarah J Warren (Minnie). The production opens on the Thursday 25 January, with previews from Tuesday 23 January, and runs until Saturday 10 February.
The narrative follows Mary’s arrival in London and her introduction to gang life. How will she make her life expectancy of twenty-five when the two gangs are after owning her? Mary wants to be a Music Hall star. Nellie of The Elephants falls in love with Mary and they try to escape from thievery to the bright lights of Piccadilly. Are the gangs going to allow that to play out?
This is a story of how important your wits are to survive if you are a poor woman in Victorian London. How you play the fame game set against a backdrop of a West End pickpocket turf war and an enormous divide between the rich and poor. “Same ol gravy, different flavour.”
Lil Warren is from the East End and has been creating for live performance in London and beyond for over twenty years. Including surviving as a stand up in Glasgow. Her credits include Nine Lives, Ten Tales, Blackout (Soho Theatre), Lost Souls and Lunatics, Strange The Road (The Hope Theatre) and a promenade production of The Changeling.
Kate Adams plays Flo. Previous credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (York Theatre Royal), Thieves’ Carnival (The Watermill Theatre), Cider With Rosie (New Vic Theatre), A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, Stamping and Shouting and Singing Home (Nuffield Southampton Theatres).
Rebecca Bainbridge plays Ada. Her theatre credits include The Terrible Infants (Wilton’s Music Hall), Grimm Tales for Young and Old (The Ditch), Mamma Mia!(Prince of Wales, Novello Theatre), Partners in Crime (Queen’s Theatre), Alice’s Adventures Underground (The Vaults), The Vaudevillians (The Lowry, Charing Cross Theatre) and Cabaret (Lyric Theatre).
Susannah van den Berg plays Chair. Theatre credits includes Alice in Winterland (Rose Theatre Kingston), Sister Act (UK and international tour), Diana of Dobson’s (New Vic Theatre), I Love Paris (Orange Tree Theatre), Can’t Buy Me Love, A Man of No Importance (Salisbury Playhouse) and Business as Usual (Everyman Theatre).
Rosaline Ford plays Nara. Theatre credits include Mother Courage and Her Children (Southwark Playhouse) These Trees are Made of Blood (Arcola Theatre) and Vampire Hospital Waiting Room, Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair (Gilded Balloon, Above The Arts)
Liz Kitchen plays Annie. As an actor her credits include Fiddler on the Roof and Sister Act (UK tour). As a Musician/Musical Director her credits include They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (Contact Theatre), M. Butterfly (West End), Blood Brothers (Liverpool Playhouse, Phoenix Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Liverpool Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Young Vic), Rocky Horror Show (German tour), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Battersea Arts Centre) and A Winter’s Tale (RSC).
Natasha Lewis plays Violet. Her credits include Peter Pan In Scarlet (New Vic Theatre, Oxford Playhouse), Corbyn The Musical: The Motorcycle Diaries (Waterloo East Theatre), The Insatiable, Inflatable Candylion (National Theatre Wales), The Life of Galileo, Promises and Lies, The BFG (Birmingham Rep), Little Shop of Horrors, Rope and Dear Brutus (Pitlochry Festival Theatre) and The Firework Maker’s Daughter (Bloomsbury Theatre)
Sinead Long plays Mary. Her theatre credits include Cinderella (Hackney Empire), Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Peter Pan (Gordon Craig Theatre), Bad Girls (Union Theatre), Tonight’s The Night (UK tour) and Legally Blonde (UK tour).
Kate Marlais plays Maggie. Theatre credits include War Horse (New London Theatre), The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Stig of the Dump, As You Like It (Storyhouse Open Air Theatre, Chester), The Human Comedy (Young Vic), The Busy Body (Southwark Playhouse), The Immortal Hour (Finborough Theatre), In The Can (Theatre503), Extra Yarn, Unsung (Orange Tree Theatre) and The Great Gatsby (Riverside Studios)
Christina Tedders plays Nellie. Her theatre credits include Once the Musical (Phoenix Theatre), A Little Night Music (The Watermill Theatre), The Commitments(UK tour), Calamity Jane (The Watermill Theatre, UK tour) and Putting It Together (Belfast Lyric Theatre).
Sarah J Warren returns to Hoxton Hall to play Minnie having previously appeared in Round Our Way. Her theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Restoration Wyfe (Hoxton Hall), The Changeling, Pulse (New Wolsey Theatre), Blackout (Soho Theatre, Hoxton Hall), Woeful Puppet, Farewell To Horatio, The Good Person of Szechwan, Twelfth Night, (UK tour), and Romeo and Juliet (The Nave).
Susie McKenna directs. She is currently Creative Executive Producer at Hackney Empire with the remit to develop new musical theatre for the venue – having left her role as Creative Director in January 2017. Her credits for Hackney Empire include Cinderella, Rudy’s Rare Records, Blues in the Night, Beau Jest, Sit and Shiver,Kat and Tameka Show, La Variété, Sing Out , Alter Ego, Once on this Island and Ha Ha Hackney. Other credits include A Midsummer Night’s Madness (National Black Theatre of Harlem, Hackney Empire Edinburgh Festival), A Christmas Carol (Arts Theatre London) and The Silver Sword (Coventry Belgrade Theatre, UK tour). Acting credits for theatre include Cats (Ambassadors Theatre), Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), The Witches of Eastwick (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Hair, The Rocky Horror Show, Jesus Christ Superstar and In The Midnight Hour (UK tour). For film her credits include Jack and Sarah.