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Williams to play MP Skinner in new Derby play

Published: 12 January 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

Gareth Williams (Scrooge) and Oliver Ashworth (Bob Cratchit) in A Christmas Carol at Derby Theatre in 2019 Credit: Robert Day
Former Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner

Gareth Williams is to return to Derby Theatre to play former MP Dennis Skinner in Kevin Fegan’s new play The Palace of Varieties.

Williams played Scrooge in the theatre’s 2019 production of Neil Duffield’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

Joining Williams in the cast will be Lisa Allen and Jack Brown. Allen was last at Derby Theatre playing Vera in Paul Allen’s adaptation of Brassed Off in 2015.

Dennis Skinner, a former miner and a socialist MP for 50 years, is not a man to be ignored. His infamous belligerence and acerbic wit in the House of Commons earned him recognition as “The Beast of Bolsover”. In the music-hall tradition of working men’s clubs, Skinner describes the Houses of Parliament as “The Palace of Varieties”.

Jimmy Fairhurst, artistic director of Not Too Tame, directs The Palace of Varieties which runs from Saturday 22 January until Saturday 5 February.