Marking the third play in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre, Red Velvet is coming to the West End in January 2016
Adrian Lester to reprise the leading role in Red Velvet
Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet is centred on the biography of Ira Aldridge, a black actor in the 19th century. The play reflects on an evening in 1833 at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden when Edmund Kean, the theatre’s resident actor who is thought as the ‘greatest actor of all time’, falls ill onstage whilst performing ‘Othello’.
Ira Aldridge, a young black American actor is asked to stand as a replacement for Kean, but as the streets of London riot over the abolition of slavery, how will the public, critics and the audience react to the contentious news that a black man is taking centre stage at the Theatre Royal?
Written by Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet received its world premiere in 2012. The highly-acclaimed production is directed by Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.
Adrian Lester will continue playing Ira Aldridge
It has been confirmed that Adrian Lester will reprise his role as Ira Aldridge in the production. Best known for his role as ‘Mickey’ in the long-running BBC drama ‘Hustle’, the actor, director and writer has numerous West End theatre credits, including ‘Othello’, ‘Henry V’, ‘Company, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and ‘Fences’.
In his role as Ira Aldridge, Lester has earned great reviews, described as a “mesmerising, must-see performance.’
A sell-out world premiere
Red Velvet’s 2012 world premiere was a sell-out hit, receiving four and five star reviews from every major London publication. Time Out London described the play as a “heart-breaking new drama that is both fiery and funny in equal measures.”
In a press statement Kenneth Branagh, spoke of his delight to be presenting Red Velvet, stating:
“Writing, direction and performance are exceptional in Red Velvet. I’m immensely proud to be presenting this work. I was aware of its development from its inception and believe Lolita Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is an entertaining as it is illuminating.”
Red Velvet is showing at the Garrick Theatre from Saturday 23 January 2016 until Saturday 27 February 2016.
Book your tickets here!