Ivona Princess of Burgundia
5 – 30 January Weds, Fri, Sat 7.30pm Sun at 4.00pm mat
The Network Theatre
Underneath Waterloo station
246A Lower Road
London SE1 8SJ
Tickets £15 (£8)
Box Office 020 3509 2827
A very different, dirty Royal Wedding is about to take place in the tunnels deep beneath Waterloo station. With an all-male, cross-dressing cast this black comedy is the latest unusual offering by the well-established Sturdy Beggars Company. With its scatological humour, deliberately florid language and biting social satire, Ivona is like a Shakespeare play seen through Alice’s looking glass... A panto gone horribly wrong... A fairy-tale minus the good guys.
Terminally bored, Crown Prince Philip decides to propose to the most repulsive girl in the kingdom – the mute, sickly Ivona. Her silence holds up a mirror to others’ hidden vices; her ugliness provokes disgust and desire in equal measure. Set in a seething, gossiping, corrupt Royal Court the play explores the ridiculous (and ultimately deadly) consequences of this impulsive betrothal... ‘Kill her? It is a crime, you know.’
From the pen of Polish literary giant Witold Gombrowicz, the play is rarely performed in the UK, despite being translated into 33 languages and a staple of the continental repertoire. It runs at the Network Theatre Waterloo for four weeks from Wednesday 5 January until Sunday 30 January 2011 (previews 17 & 18 December). Ivona, Princess of Burgundia is part of Sturdy Beggars’ Brain Drain Season – lost gems by Eastern European masters: Gombrowicz, Stratiev and Molnar.
The cast of 15 includes Alex Andreou (Queen Margaret), David Bartlett (Chamberlain), Brendan Jones (King Ignatius), Christopher Hughes (Prince Philip) and Bjorn Dvori-Avraham (Ivona). It is directed by genre specialist Kos Mantzakos, produced by Hugo Thurston with design by Charlotte Randell, lighting by Gareth Howells, and costumes by Josie Martin. The music is by Chopin, Preisner, Oginski, Jarzebski, and Lutoslawski - all Polish composers. A major new opera of the play recently premiered at the Paris Opera and La Monnaie in Brussels.
David Bartlett is a BAFTA nominated actor (Hungry Times, Robin of Sherwood etc.) and Oscar shortlisted director (The Goodbye Plane, C5’s Trial of the Knights Templar, BBC’s Assassination of JFK). He was in The Comedy of Errors and As You LieHHhhhh
Alex Andreou was last seen in The Black Album at the National Theatre, A Golden Age at Southbank and The Wolfman for Universal.
Brendan Jones played John Houseman in BBC’s Orson Welles’ War of The World and the Bellboy in Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things.
Hugo Thurston was a founder member of Humphrey Carpenter's Mushy Pea Theatre Company. Acting credits include A Slight Ache, in which he was cast by Harold Pinter in Thea Sharrock's Gate Theatre production.
Josie Martin was part of the Oscar winning costume team of Elizabeth.
For more information please visit: www.sturdy-beggars.com
Lower Road is a private road and not on maps. Waterloo Road exit signed to Old Vic, turn right and right again down the first service lane under the arches (next to Paul’s patisserie). Network Theatre is 40yds on the left past loading bays.