Sarah Lancashire takes on Maggie Smith’s role in the new stage musical Betty Blue Eyes.
Cameron Mackintosh’s latest stage musical, Betty Blue Eyes, is based on Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray’s acclaimed screenplay A Private Function. In the film Maggie Smith played the formidable Joyce Chilvers, a role that accomplished TV star Sarah Lancashire will take on in the new stage production when it opens at the Novello Theatre from 19 March 2011.
Sarah trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is best known for her TV work, including playing Raquel in Coronation Street, All The Small Things, Dr Who, Clocking Off, Cherished, Fiver Daughters, Murder Most Horrid, Where The Heart Is, Rose and Maloney, Wurthering Heights, Seeing Red and The Cry.
Her stage work includes playing Miss Adelaide in the Donmar’s production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly theatre, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Oldham Coliseum and Linda in Blood Brothers at the Albery (now the Noel Coward) Theatre.
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Betty Blue Eyes is directed by Richard Eyre and penned by George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics), with a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman. The show also stars Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen) as Gilbert, Adrian Scarborough (After the Dance, Gavin & Stacey) as Wormold, David Bamber (My Night With Reg) as Swaby, Ann Emery (Billy Elliot) as Mother Dear, Jack Edwards as Allardyce and Mark Meadows as Lockwood.
The story is set in a small Yorkshire village just after the Second World War. When the locals want to celebrate the forthcoming Royal wedding, post-war rationing prompts them to illegally raise a pig for the event. But social climber Joyce (Lancashire) and her down-trodden husband Gilbert (Shearsmith) plot a scheme of their own that throws the village into chaos.