Menier Chocolate Factory to reopen with postponed shows and new studio

The Menier Chocolate Factory announces dates for Paula Vogel’s Indecent and Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus plus Brian & Roger in new studio space The Mixing Room

Menier Chocolate Factory Indecent
Alexandra Silber in Indecent. Photo: Menier Chocolate Factory

The Menier Chocolate Factory in London is reopening in September with the European première of Paula Vogel’s Tony Award-winning play, Indecent, and a newly created studio space.

The season will also include the rescheduled revival of Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus directed by Patrick Marber as well as the world première of Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner’s show, Brian & Roger – A Highly Offensive Play, in the new studio, dubbed The Mixing Room.

The Menier’s artistic director, David Babani, said: “We couldn’t open with any other production: Indecent was days into previews when we had to shut down in March last year, and we were determined to reunite our brilliant company of actors and share Rebecca’s beautiful production with audiences here in the UK, the themes of which could not be more timely and prescient for the moment we find ourselves in.

“It’s also a joy to also be able to reschedule Habeas Corpus which sees Patrick Marber return to the theatre after his recent success with Travesties. Opening our new smaller studio space, The Mixing Room, is the stage première of Brian & Roger – A Highly Offensive Play, bringing a much-needed dose of comedy to our audiences.”

Indecent, which had just begun previews when Covid-19 forced theatre buildings to close, will run on the main stage from 3 September to 27 November, with opening night on 13 September. The cast features Cory English, Beverley Klein, Finbar Lynch, Molly Osborne, Peter Polycarpou, Alexandra Silber and Joseph Timms with musicians Merlin Shepherd, Anna Lowenstein and Josh Middleton.

Directed by Rebecca Taichman, it has choreography by David Dorfman, set design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, US sound design by Matt Hubbs, UK sound design by Jonathan Everett, projection design by Tal Yarden, music by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, music supervision by Lisa Gutkin and music direction by Merlin Shepherd.

Indecent explores the origins of the highly controversial play The God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch. It charts the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it in this deeply moving play accompanied by a small live klezmer band.

It will be followed on the main stage by Habeas Corpus from 3 December 2021 to 26 February 2022, with opening night on 13 December. This “darkly satirical merry-go-round” follows the antics in the home of the Wicksteeds. Family, friends and the quest for sexual pleasures of the body are the ruling passions in this farcical comedy of ill manners. Through an escapade of mistaken identities and carnal encounters, one motto holds fast: “He whose lust lasts, lasts longest.”

Habeas Corpus, which was originally due to be staged from May to July last year, features lighting design by Richard Howell and music and sound design by Adam Cork. Casting is still to be announced.

In The Mixing Room, Brian & Roger – A Highly Offensive Play will run from 22 October 2021 to 18 December, with opening night on 1 November. It is written and performed by Harry Peacock and Dan Skinner, based on their hit comedy podcast produced by Marc Haynes and Joel Morris for Great Big Owl.

It follows Brian and Roger who met at a support group for recently divorced men. Roger was attending because he was genuinely grieving the loss of his marriage. Brian was instructed to attend by his solicitor if he wanted to dodge paying alimony. Roger is in need of guidance and support, which Brian willingly supplies. Both are starting again. Both are finding it hard. One of them is nice.

Directed by Babani, it features set and costume design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Paul Anderson and sound design by Gregory Clarke. It is recommended for only people aged 16 and upwards.

At the moment, the Menier’s restaurant is still unable to open.

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About Mark Ludmon 248 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.