Casting has been revealed for new comedy Spike which will premiere at the Watermill in Newbury.
Olivier Award-winning actor John Dagleish (Sunny Afternoon, Lark Rise to Candleford, A Christmas Carol) will star in the title role of the piece, which has been written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman based on the life of Spike Milligan.
TV comedienne Margaret Cabourn-Smith (Motherland, Miranda, Buffering) will star as ‘Janet’ with Stephen Fry voicing the ‘BBC Announcer’.
Spike will run at The Watermill from Thursday 27 January – Saturday 5 March with tickets on sale online now here.
It’s the booming fifties, and Britain is in the clutches of Goon mania as men, women and children across the country scramble to get their ear to a wireless for another instalment of The Goon Show. While Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers get down to the serious business of becoming overnight celebrities, fellow Goon and chief writer Spike finds himself pushing the boundaries of comedy, and testing the patience of the BBC.
Flanked by his fellow Goons and bolstered by the efforts of irrepressible sound assistant Janet, Spike takes a flourishing nosedive off the cliffs of respectability, and mashes up his haunted past to create the comedy of the future.
Will Spike’s dogged obsession with finding the funny elevate The Goons to soaring new heights, or will the whole thing come crashing down with the stroke of a potato peeler?
Also on the cast are George Kemp (recently seen in Bridgerton, and soon to star in Amazon’s Call My Agent) as ‘Peter Sellers’, Jeremy Lloyd (The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Trial by Laughter) as ‘Harry Secombe’, James Mack (The Watermill’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Rivals, Macbeth and Journey’s End) as ‘Denis Main-Wilson / Peter Eton’, Ellie Morris (The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Movie Night, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery for Mischief Theatre company) playing ‘June’ and Robert Mountford (The Habit of Art, The Haunting of Alice Bowles for Original Theatre Company, House and Garden for The Watermill) as ‘BBC Executive’.
Spike will be directed by Watermill Artistic Director Paul Hart, with design by Katie Lias, lighting design by Rory Beaton. The Composer is Tayo Akinbode with sound design by Tom Marshall, Ruth Sullivan is the Foley Sound Consultant. Anjali Mehra is Movement Director and Robert Kirby is the Associate Director. The stage management team consists of Alice Barber as DSM, with Natalie Toney and Natalia Kheldouni as ASMs.
Ian Hislop and Nick Newman said: “Writing Spike gave us the opportunity to celebrate the genius of the founding father of modern comedy, explore what inspired him and steal all his jokes.”
Paul Hart Artistic Director at The Watermill added: “It’s been great to work with Ian and Nick on this homage to one of the most iconic voices in modern comedy. The play will commemorate twenty years since his death (he’s still ill then??) and will be equally good fun to those who know the Goons and to audiences who are new to Spike’s distinctive brand of humour. And how we all need a laugh at the moment!”