Casting has been announced for the National Theatre Wales and Royal Court Theatre co-production of On Bear Ridge by award-winning writer Ed Thomas. Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone and Ed Thomas will co-direct this semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind, the indelible marks they make on us, and the unreliable memories we hold onto.
“One minute we had customers, the next minute there was no-one.”
In a lost village, blurred by redrawn borders, hidden under a crumb on the map, Bear Ridge Stores still stands. After a hundred years, the family butchers and grocers – a place for odds and ends, contraband goods, and the last petrol pump for 30 miles – is now silent.
But owners John Daniel and Noni are not leaving. They are defiantly drinking the remaining whiskey and remembering good times, when everyone was on the same side and the old language shone. Outside in the dark, a figure is making their way towards them.
The cast will include Rakie Ayola as Noni. Rakie is currently performing Strange Fruit at the Bush Theatre. Previous stage credits include Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (West End), The Half God of Rainfall (Kiln Theatre) and Leave to Remain (Lyric Hammersmith). On television she is best known for her long running role as Kyla Tyson in Holby City (BBC).
Jason Hughes will play The Captain. He returns to the Royal Court where his work has included Violence and Son, 4:48 Psychosis and A Real Classy Affair. Other recent stage roles include The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia (West End) and Our Country’s Good (National Theatre). On television he played Warren in This Life (BBC) and Detective Sergeant Ben Jones in Midsomer Murders (ITV). Other recent TV credits include Marcella (ITV), Death in Paradise and Three Girls (both BBC).
Rhys Ifans will play John Daniel. On stage he recently played the title role in Exit the King and caused a sensation in the one-man show of Protest Song (National Theatre). He also played the iconic role of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and The Fool in King Lear (Old Vic). Rhys’ extensive film work includes Elizabeth (dir. Shekhar Kapur), Greenberg (dir. Noah Baumbach), Nanny McPhee, Harry Potter, Mr Nice, Anonymous, The Amazing Spider-Man, Enduring Love and of course Richard Curtis’ Notting Hill. He won a BAFTA for his performance as Peter Cook in Not Only But Always and will next appear in the new comedy drama film Misbehaviour directed by Philippa Lowethorpe and Matthew Vaughn’s latest film Kingsman: The Great Game.
The cast is completed by Sion Daniel Young as Ifan William. Sion returns to the Sherman Theatre and Royal Court following Killology. His credits for National Theatre Wales include The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Mametz and The Village Social. He played leading roles in War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (both West End) and last year performed in Nightfall (Bridge Theatre). He will next appear in Jellyfish (National Theatre). His TV roles include Hinterland/Y Gwyll BBC/S4C/Netflix also written by Ed Thomas
The play will run at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff (20 September – 5 October 2019) followed by the Royal Court in London (24 October – 23 November 2019).