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Prasanna makes his RSC directorial debut in Stratford

Published: 18 May 2019

Prasanna Puwanarajah makes his directorial debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company when he takes charge of Thomas Otway’s “savage political thriller” Venice Preserved.

He said, “Venice Preserved has been in my head for the past eight years and it’s never felt more apposite than now; it's a thrilling, hot shard of Restoration noir about idiots in power versus the seismic political movements and moments that pull a city—and relationships—to pieces.

“I'm thrilled to be directing at the RSC for the first time and for it to be this extraordinary play. I'm excited by the company we've formed; new faces of all ages will play alongside RSC veterans, making this a great opportunity to see incredible performers climb into one of the great verse tragedies.”

Michael Grady-Hall returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company to play Jaffeir. His previous appearances for the RSC include Mike Poulton’s adaptation of Robert Harris’s Imperium in 2018, As You Like It and Hamlet.

Jodie McNee, who was last seen at the RSC in Roxana Silbert's 2013 production of A Life of Galileo, Mark Ravenhill's translation of Brecht's play, takes the role of Belvidera in Venice Preserved.

John Hodgkinson plays Antonio. He took the roles of Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night for the RSC in 2018, Don Armado in Love's Labour's Lost in 2017 and Prince Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, also in 2017.

Natlie Dew plays Aquilina. She was Olivia in A Musical Adaptation of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in 2018 and Jess in Bend It Like Beckham – The Musical at the Phoenix Theatre in 2015.

The cast also includes Isabel Adomakoh Young (Spinosa), Pete Ashmore (Theodore), Les Dennis (Priuli), Polly Edsell (Brabe), Kevin N Golding (Duke), Alison Halstead (Bedamar), Nickcolia King-N'Da (Brainveil), Steve Nicolson (Renault), Carl Prekopp (Eliot), Ben Roddy (officers), Rosalind Steele (Aquilina's maid), Sarah Twomey (waiter) and Toby Webster (Durand).

Design is by James Cotterill with lighting by Jack Knowles, sound by George Dennis, movement by Polly Bennett, fights by Kate Waters and video by Nina Dunn.

Venice Preserved runs in the Swan Theatre, Stratford alongside John Vanbrugh’s The Provoked Wife from Friday 24 May until Saturday 7 September. Press night will be Thursday 30 May.

Steve Orme