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Generational feud in Scandaltown – the Lyric’s brand-new comedy is on now

Categoriesnews Arts and parksnews

Image captionImage 1: Cecilia Appiah on stage at the Lyric in Scandaltown. PHOTO: MARC BRENNER

Get ready for “a party that will, no doubt, have all of London talking”.

Coming to entertain satire enthusiasts in the heart of Hammersmith & Fulham, the Lyric is now home to Mike Bartlett’s brand-new comedy Scandaltown.

The Lyric’s latest main house show offers a sneak peek at what truly lies behind the carefully crafted masquerade of London’s rich and powerful – and those who’d do anything to join their exclusive club.

It runs until Saturday 14 May at the Lyric Theatre in King Street, with tickets starting from £10 for the preview performances, and £15 for the main run showings.

Over the course of a fast-paced two hours, the 12-strong ensemble skilfully presents the decadent world of the middle-aged upper class – dictated by fame-hungry hypocrisy – in sharp contrast to the well-intentioned yet unforgiving high morals of woke culture’s social warriors.

Among the cast: local actor Cecilia Appiah, who grew up in Shepherds Bush and has been visiting the Lyric since childhood.

“It would always be a treat to go to the Lyric to watch their panto productions. I’ve watched generations of performers on the Lyric’s stage, but my younger self would never have seen me on it. It seems so unreal whenever 7.30pm comes around and the lights come up,” said Cecilia.

“I’m so grateful to have been cast in this brilliant play. It’s a fun show and there’s a lot of heart in it.”

Starring as Phoebe Virtue, fellow locals can now find her on the very same stage at the Lyric’s daily evening shows, Mondays through Saturdays (7.30pm), with additional matinee showings on Wednesdays and Saturdays (2.30pm).

Generation wars

Under the artistic direction of Rachel O’Riordan, Scandaltown explores contemporary issues through means of contrast – young vs. old, north vs. south, left vs. right, purpose-driven vs. money-driven – and playfully exaggerated stereotypes.

“That’s the fun of the play,” explained writer Mike Bartlett in a recent episode of BBC Radio 4 podcast Front Row.

“Not to take a stance at anything in particular, but to throw them against each other.”

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Image caption: Image 2: Rachael Stirling in Scandaltown. PHOTO: MARC BRENNER

While the middle-aged residents of Scandaltown make no secret of always putting themselves first (“Being free also means having the freedom to be selfish!” – Lady Susan Climber, played by Rachael Stirling), the play’s young poster-child philanthropists display a developed sense of shared responsibility.

Freedom also means that we have the liberty to be kind, to care, to do good,” – Phoebe Virtue

“It’s been interesting to try and sincerely get behind both sides of different arguments, deeply held beliefs of different generations, and the sort of secret conversations that happen between people of one generation about another,” said Bartlett.

Outrageous bluntness

Set in 21st-century London, Scandaltown takes the form of a Restoration comedy.

Popular for tackling the most pressing issues of society such as politics and deceit, class and privilege, greed and corruption, Restoration plays quickly became a crowd pleaser in the 17th and 18th century.

Scandaltown is no different.

Theatre lovers can look forward to an evening full of running jokes, outrageous bluntness, and thought-provoking dialogue. True to the words of Rosalind Double-Budget, brought to life by seasoned actor Annette McLaughlin: “I am absolutely outraged - and I love it!”

For more details, visit the Lyric website.

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Image caption: Image 3: Richard Goulding and Luke Hornsby on stage at the Lyric. PHOTO: MARC BRENNER

Working together

H&F supports the Lyric theatre with its programme of theatre and creative activities for young people.

This includes programmes targeting disadvantaged young people and free first night theatre tickets for people living or working in H&F, local schools and community groups.

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