Charlie Russell to star in comic play about composer Fanny Mendelssohn

Wednesday 17th April 2024, 12:55pm

Fanny. Image shows left to right: Charlie Russell, Kim Ismay, Corey Montague-Sholay, George Howard, Harry Kershaw, Jade May Lin

The Play That Goes Wrong star Charlie Russell will take the lead in Fanny, a comedy play based around the story of 19th century composer and pianist Fanny Mendelssohn.

Fanny, written by Calum Finlay, will run at The Watermill theatre near Newbury from Thursday 23rd May to Saturday 15th June.

Referring to Fanny Mendelssohn, the producers say: "You'll probably know her younger brother, Felix Mendelssohn, from 19th century smash hits like The Wedding March. He was the Cliff Richard of his day and was even asked to play at a personal concert for Queen Victoria. But only if he played her favourite piece of music ever, a song called Italien. However, we now know that Felix was forced to admit to the Queen that, in actuality, the piece had been composed by his sister, Fanny, and simply published under his name.

"Fanny imagines that Fanny intercepts a letter addressed to 'F. Mendelssohn' inviting Felix to play for Queen Victoria. As the true composer of Italien, she decides to hide the letter, don her brother's clothes, and take his place at the palace... cueing a race across Europe and a furious Felix.

"Produced by RJG Productions and The Watermill Theatre and directed by Katie-Ann McDonough, this fun and irreverent new comedy celebrates classical music and - at last - recognises the work of a composer overlooked for her sex."

The cast list will also feature Corey Montague-Sholay as Felix, Harry Kershaw as Paul, Kim Ismay as Lea, George Howard as Willhelm and Jade May Lin as Clara.

The cast introduce themselves in this video:

Yshani Perinanayagam is the composer and musical director, Sophia Pardon the set and costume designer, David Howe the lighting designer and Thomas André Wasley the sound designer.

Director Katie-Ann McDonough says: "Fanny is a story that needs to be told and I'm excited to bring it to life with this incredible cast and creative team. Fanny Mendelssohn's story has been waiting in the background for far too long and I can't wait for audiences to experience it with us."

Producer Rebecca Gwyther comments: "We could not have hoped for a more symphonic team to bring Fanny to life at the Watermill Theatre. After years of development, we're ready for audiences to experience Fanny's story in this imaginative comedy that's certain to strike a chord."

Joint CEOs of The Watermill, Paul Hart and Claire Murray, conclude: "We're delighted to be collaborating with Rebecca and the team to stage the world premiere of Fanny at the Watermill Theatre. We think audiences will love this hilarious new play inspired by the remarkable truth of who actually composed Felix Mendelssohn's greatest hits!"

Tickets for Fanny

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