Previewed 30 June 2014, Opened 7 July 2014, Closed 23 August 2014 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal in London
Oliver Cotton's new play Daytona in London starring Maureen Lipman, Harry Shearer and Oliver Cotton for a strictly limited eight week season.
Set in New York in 1986, Daytona tells the story of Joe and Elli who share a love of ballroom dancing and are practising their routines for the next big competition. Despite their constant bickering, the love that they have shared together for nearly fifty years is clear. But then, one night, out of the blue, Joe's long-lost brother Billy bursts back into their lives with an extraordinary story to tell... Gripping, funny, poignant and full of mystery, Oliver Cotton's play has not just one, but two love stories at its heart. This production comes into London's West End following an acclaimed season at the Park Theatre in the summer of 2013 which was followed by a successful short regional tour.
The cast for Daytone in London features Maureen Lipman as 'Elli' and Harry Shearer as 'Joe' who are both reprising their roles from the 2013 Park Theatre run. For this West End season they will be joined by the writer of the play Oliver Cotton as 'Billy'. Harry Shearer, who makes his West End stage debut in this production, is best known for providing the voices to Mr Burns, Principle Skinner, Ned Flanders and others in the top rated TV series The Simpsons. The production is directed by David Grindley.
When the production was originally seen in London at the Park Theatre Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said that the play "finds the much-loved Maureen Lipman on first-rate form," adding that "it is a gripping story, powerfully told and excellently performed" while director "David Grindley finds all the play's considerable strengths, including its many moments of sharp humour, and persuades the audience to suspend its disbelief when the plot veers towards the implausible. This is a compelling and deeply humane production and one I warmly recommend." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail said it offered the actors "terrific parts with vividly related stories" and Libby Purves in the Times highlighted how "for each in turn, it is a dazzling showcase." Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote that, "well directed by David Grindley, it's a piece that over-domesticates a big issue, but that still keeps you guessing where it's going next." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how both Maureen Lipman and Harry Shearer "turn in admirable performances," while "David Grindley directs with his customary diligence." Emily Jupp in the Independent thought that "Maureen Lipman's droll delivery is a masterwork in understated acting, but she also knows when to let rip - whereas Harry Shearer is a calm, pragmatic counterpart... Oliver Cotton has a gift for fusing those humorous, everyday trivialities with the fantastical - and making the most unbelievable story seem real."
"At first, life appears mundane in the Brooklyn home of long-married Joe and Elli. But late one night comes Billy, the brother Joe has not seen for 30 years. Slowly, a darker reality emerges... Performances by all three stars are fine, with Oliver Cotton, a frantic and impassioned Billy, Harry Shearer as laconic Joe, and Maureen Lipman, showing true class and talent. Subtle humour and moments of raw emotion make for a richly enjoyable evening." The Sunday Mirror
"You need presence to be a stage actor. Harry Shearer is best known for being the distinctive, characterful voices of Mr Burns, Principal Skinner and Ned Flanders in The Simpsons. On the stage of the Theatre Royal, in the part of the diminutive, henpecked husband in Oliver Cotton's play, if he projects anything much, it is absence. Maureen Lipman, left, who plays his silver-shoed wife Elli, has buckets of presence. But not enough, alas, to make up for the play's implausible plot, its endless speeches and the turgid pacing of David Grindley's production... In spite of Lipman's nifty legwork and Shearer's patent pumps, a final Strictly moment can't lift this piece off its leaden dramatic feet." The Mail on Sunday
"Oliver Cotton's drama has a borrowed feel: you could be damned sure you'd already seen it back in the mists of time. It's up to the actors in David Grindley's production to hitch up their trousers and wade through its rivers of monologue without looking silly. It takes place in the Brooklyn living room of Joe (Harry Shearer) and Ellie (a no-nonsense Lipman), a married Jewish couple in their seventies... Like Joe, who arrives bearing Chinese takeaway, the play opens more cartons of noodles than it knows what to do with, then lets them go cold." The Sunday Times
Maureen Lipman's West End credits include JB Priestly's When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre 2010), Trevor Nunn's revival of the musical A Little Night Music (Garrick Theatre 2009), Peter Quilter's play about Florence Foster Jenkins Glorious! (Duchess Theatre 2006), the pantomime Aladdin opposite Ian McKellen (Old Vic Theatre 2004), the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie with Amanda Holden and Sheila Ferguson (Shaftesbury Theatre 2003), Trevor Nunn's revival of the musical Oklahoma! with Hugh Jackman (National Theatre 1998 and Lyceum Theatre 1999) and the Joyce Grenfell play Re:Joyce (Fortune Theatre 1989, Vaudeville Theatre 1989 and 1991). David Grindley's recent West End credits include directing Matthew Lewis, Laurence Fox and Arthur Darvill in Jonathan Lewis' Our Boys (Duchess Theatre 2012), Josh Hartnett in Dan Gordon's Rain Man (Apollo Theatre 2008), Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis in Joanna Murray-Smith's Honour (Wyndham's Theatre 2006), Kevin Spacey and Mary Stuart Masterson in Dennis McIntyre's National Anthems (Old Vic Theatre 2005) and David Schwimmer in Neil LaBute's Some Girls (Gielgud Theatre 2005).
Daytona in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Theatre previewed from 30 June 2014, opened on 7 July 2014 and closed on 23 August 2014.