Cast of four to stage Biblical epic with a comic twist - The Rugby Observer

Cast of four to stage Biblical epic with a comic twist

Rugby Editorial 2nd Apr, 2019   0

FOUR actors will recreate a sprawling blockbuster on the Rugby Theatre stage in a comedy adaptation of Ben Hur.

The 1959 Biblical epic starring Charlton Heston is famous for its chariot races, sea battle and cast of thousands.

But a mere quartet of actors ‒Tom Browning, Philip Evans, Gary van Sluiters and Danielle Stephenson – will somehow recreate legions of toga-wearing Roman citizens, centurians, charioteers and galley slaves for a comic retelling of the tale.

The play is written by actor, comedian and playwright Patrick Barlow, who also penned the award-winning comedy The 39 Steps, which went down a storm at the Henry Street venue in 2011.

Director Simon Burne said: “I’ve been a huge fan of Patrick Barlow for many years ever since, as Desmond Olivier Dingle, he first founded the National Theatre of Brent with Jim Broadbent as Wallace.

“I’ve been honoured to work with an amazing cast who have worked so hard to bring all the characters to life. Their energy, commitment and creativity have been a real privilege to witness.

“I was still laughing at the end of rehearsals and the cast are still inventing things now!”

Artistic Director Robert Sloan said: “I was lucky enough to be at one of the final rehearsals.

“It’s utterly bonkers and very silly, and there are some damn fine characters.

“If you liked The 39 Steps, The Hound of the Baskervilles or Reduced Shakespeare Company then this will be right up your street.”

Ben Hur opens for a seven performance run on Saturday (April 6). Visit or call 01788 541234 for tickets.

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