Talking Heads at the Gala

Peter Lathan

The casting has been announced for Durham’s Gala Theatre’s production of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads which will run from 6 to 10 March.

The three plays from the series (which was originally written for television) which will be produced at the Gala are A Chip in the Sugar, Bed Among the Lentils and Soldiering On.

Ross Waiton, who played Roger Sheers in the West End run of the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, plays the jealous Graham in A Chip in the Sugar, as he watches his mam getting romantically involved with an old flame.

Born in North Shields, Waiton's theatre credits also include (for the National Theatre) King Lear, Timon of Athens, Antigone, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Much Ado About Nothing and Saint Joan and (for the RSC) Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra and The Duchess of Malfi. He has also worked at the Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, English Touring Theatre, Northern Stage (Rutherford and Son in 2009), Salisbury Playhouse and the New Ambassadors.

Zoe Lambert plays alcoholic Susan who is having an affair with a local greengrocer in Bed Among the Lentils. A well-known North East actress, she has worked frequently with Live Theatre, where she has appeared, among others, in Rendezvous, Tyne and Live Witness and with Open Clasp (Swags and Tails, Rattle and Roll). Most recently, she was a music hall singer about to murder her husband in End of the Pier at the Customs House and three characters (including a Monster associated with lots of poo) in a 34-venue tour of a play for the under-7s, Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo.

She has also worked with Greyscale, The November Club, ODDMANOUT and Northern Stage and, outside the region, Northern Broadsides, Bolton Octagon, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Lancaster Dukes.

Judi Earl plays the strong but being worn-down Muriel in Soldiering On. She is one of the original cast of Open Clasp’s hugely successful Key Change and toured with it nationally, to the Edinburgh Fringe and to New York. She appeared in DieHard Gateshead at Alphabetti and has a long string of Norh East-based TV appearances to her name, including Vera, Our Friends in the North and BBC One's Hospital People.

The production will be directed by Charlie Westenra, who recently worked on Christopher Wheeldon's new ballet Strapless for the Royal Opera House, and designed by Simon Wells.

Talking Heads is a modern classic,” said Gala Manager Robin Byers, “and we are delighted to be bringing it to Gala as part of our drive to create more of our own work and to develop the venue into an admired producing house.”