Reworking Charley

Published: 30 March 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The cast

Playwright Paul Thain, who also runs the Internet Theatre Bookshop, says that he normally writes what he calls “portentous state-of-the-future dramas” but, realising that Brandon Thomas’s Charley’s Aunt was one of the Bookshop’s most popular plays, “in a fit of COVID madness, I found myself adapting it, or rather—if truth be told—rewriting it, channelling Wilde rather than Thomas.”

Now, this reworked version of the 1892 farce is to be given a “virtual table reading” in aid of the Equity Charitable Trust.

Leading the cast will be Gyles Brandreth, Gary Wilmot MBE and Issy Van Randwyck who will be joined by Karl Queensborough (Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre; Enterprise, BBC), Ruby Bentall (Poldark and Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC), Will Hislop (Military Wives, BBC; Gangs of London, Sky), Oliver Beamish (Coronation Street, ITV; War Horse, National Theatre), Skye Hallam (The Skin Game, Proud Haddock; Intrigo: Samaria, Enderby Entertainment), Ed MacArthur (Murder for Two, The Other Palace; Ed MacArthur: Humoresque, Edinburgh Fringe) and Katie Okehurst (Pride and Prejudice, RADA).

It will be produced by Proud Haddock and directed by Jimmy Walters.

“We are so excited for this wonderful cast to read Charley’s Aunt,” said Walters. “It is one of the most popular comedies of all time and the perfect play for now. We are also delighted to be raising donations for the Equity Charitable Trust; a wonderful charity that offers care and financial support to those in our industry who really need it.”

The reading will be streamed live on YouTube at 7:30 on 11 April and will be subsequently available until 18 April. It is free to view but donations to the Trust will be gratefully received on its Just Giving web page.

The script of Paul Thain's adaptation has been been published by Stageplays.