LES DENNIS dons the ruff to star in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night!

Thu 15 Feb, 2024

Beloved actor, comedian, and TV Presenter, Les Dennis, is set to take to the Shakespeare North Playhouse stage as ‘Malvolio’ in Twelfth Night this June.

Not Too Tame and Shakespeare North Playhouse proudly announce another dynamic co-production, bringing forth a brilliantly bold rendition of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, ‘Twelfth Night’.

Following the resounding success of their previous collaboration, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the producing duo return to captivate audiences with a signature blend of exhilarating and anarchic experimental theatre.

Not Too Tame & Shakespeare North Playhouse give this classic comedy a contemporary revamp with a dose of riffs, ruffs, and riotous partying. Prepare to be transported into a world where the stage is set, the music is pumping, and love takes centre stage as the ultimate headliner. Trinifold Management (The Who, Jimmy Paige, UB40, Standin Man) will be opening up their archives and working alongside the design team to help inform this production.

Les Dennis, renowned for his versatility and captivating stage presence, will step into the iconic role of ‘Malvolio’, the puritanical and pompous servant of the countess ‘Olivia’.

Les Dennis, one of the UK’s most renowned entertainers, boasts a 50-year showbiz career. Hailing from Liverpool, he rose as a comedian in the 1970’s and dominated Saturday night TV in the 80’s and 90’s. He recently returned to Saturday night TV with a fabulous turn on BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. In recent years, Les has enjoyed a thriving career as an actor, performing with companies such as the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’ and the ‘English National Opera’, and in numerous hit plays and musicals in the West End and on tour, as well as a regular role on ‘Coronation Street’.

“I am thrilled to be playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night.” Says Les Dennis, “Ever since I went to Stratford with the school and saw it I have always wanted to do it. The great Sir Ken Dodd famously played the part, and the fact that Shakespeare North has a Doddy garden through the support of Lady Dodd and the Sir Ken Dodd Foundation is an additional bonus. How tickled I am to be following in his footsteps.”

Directed by Not Too Tame’s Artistic Director, Jimmy Fairhurst (‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’– Not Too Tame, Shakespeare North Playhouse; ‘The Social’– Not Too Tame, Northern Soul; ‘Palace of Varieties’– Derby Theatre) this rendition of Twelfth Night is a raucous celebration of unrequited love and mistaken identities, set against the backdrop of the music scene.

Nominated for Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards in 2023 for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Jimmy is a director, writer, and actor who creates and develops shows that are steeped in working class culture, with a focus on audiences who feel that theatre isn’t for them.

On directing Twelfth Night, Jimmy Fairhurst comments, “Ding Ding! And bells out for round two!

I’m thrilled to be announcing our second co-production with the incredible team at Shakespeare North Playhouse. After the successes of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ last year which saw packed-out audiences on their feet night after night, I’m coming back with more of the same…but I’m turning it up to 11. I believe ‘Twelfth Night’ is naturally an accessible play for a modern audience and one that warrants the best soundtrack. I’m keen to dig into the themes of appearance, acceptance and how we treat people and in return, wish to be treated. We will be working with a host of diverse working-class artists and the legendary Les Dennis to create a production that is as hilarious as it is heartbreaking and feels like a big weekend away at a festival. So grab your wristbands and see you down the front.”

Laura Collier, Creative Director at Shakespeare North Playhouse, comments, “We are so thrilled to once again collaborate with our Associate Artists, Not Too Tame, to bring Twelfth Night to life at Shakespeare North Playhouse. This production promises to be a dynamic fusion of Shakespearean tradition and contemporary flair, offering audiences an exhilarating theatrical experience unlike any other.

Not Too Tame are a superb creative powerhouse who consistently produce high-quality, unique, and poignant work that celebrates and platforms working-class narratives and actors.

Twelfth Night is a comedy that mirrors the complexities of life itself, exploring the breadth of human relationships and societal dynamics. This production promises an experience that will linger in the hearts and minds of our audiences long after the final bow.”

Tickets for Twelfth Night at Shakespeare North Playhouse are on sale now


Twelfth Night is being staged at Shakespeare North Playhouse from the 7th – 29th of June 2024


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