The UK Tour of Ben Brown’s new political drama, A SPLINTER OF ICE, opened on 8 June in Malvern and will tour until 31 July, with extra dates in York and Cambridge. Karen Ascoe joined the previously announced Oliver Ford Davies (Graham Greene) and Stephen Boxer (Kim Philby) as Rufa Philby. The tour is directed by Alan Strachan with Alastair Whatley. The production is also available online via originaltheatreonline.com until 31 July 2021. This critically acclaimed online version was filmed on the stage of the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, with Sara Crowe as Rufa Philby.
Moscow 1987 and the cold war begins to thaw. After declining his offer for more than 30 years, novelist Graham Greene travels into the heart of the Soviet Union to meet with his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby. Under the watchful eye of Russian memoirist and Philby’s last wife, Rufa, the two men set about catching up on old times. With a new world order breaking out around them, how much did the writer of The Third Man know about Philby’s secret life as a spy and did Philby betray his friend as well as his country?
From the writer of the award-winning West End play Three Days in May, which inspired the Oscar-winning film Darkest Hour, Ben Brown’s new political drama explores an unlikely friendship; a friendship interwoven with deceit and loyalty. Ben said of this production of A SPLINTER OF ICE, “I’m thrilled to be working again with Alan Strachan and Oliver Ford Davies and to be joining forces with Stephen Boxer, Sara Crowe and Alastair Whatley for the premiere, at last, of my new play, online prior to a national tour.”
Alastair Whatley, Artistic Director of Original Theatre Company, said, “I am thrilled that we are producing Ben’s fantastic new play with such a wonderful cast and creative team. The plan was to open this in front of audiences at the end of March, but alas, once again, plans have changed. Instead of cancelling, we will now film the production at the beautiful Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, releasing the play to our audiences around the world, before then returning to stages across the UK as soon as theatres re-open.”
Oliver Ford Davies is an Olivier Award-winning actor whose recent theatre includes Peter Gynt (National Theatre & Edinburgh International Festival), Troilus and Cressida (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Chalk Garden (Chichester Festival Theatre), Richard II (RSC, Barbican & BAM, New York), Henry IV Part II (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York), Henry V (RSC, Barbican, China Tour & BAM, New York) and Goodnight Mister Tom (Phoenix West End & Tour - Olivier Award ‘Best Entertainment and Family’ 2013). He won Best Actor at the 1990 Olivier Awards for his performance in David Hare’s Racing Demon (National Theatre). Recent film and television credits include Christopher Robin, The Last Witness, Father Brown, Marple and Game of Thrones.
Stephen Boxer’s theatre credits include The Remains of the Day (UK Tour), Titus Andronicus, The Heresy of Love, The Taming Of The Shrew, Bartholomew Fair, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Herbal Bed, The White Devil, The Duchess Of Malfi, Richard III (all for the RSC), Macbeth, King Lear, Aristocrats, Volpone (all for the National Theatre), The Hypochondriac and A Chaste Maid In Cheapside (for Almeida Theatre). Stephen’s most recent television credits include Denis Thatcher in The Crown, Small Axe, David Elster in Humans and Poldark. He also played Rene Azaire in Original Theatre’s highly acclaimed online production of Birdsong earlier this year.
Karen Ascoe’s theatre credits include Switzerland (English Theatre, Frankfurt), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Lowry, Manchester and No.1 tour), Single Spies, Sense and Sensibility (Theatre By The Lake and York Theatre Royal), Rabbits (Park Theatre), Shakespeare in the Abbey (Globe Theatre at Westminster Abbey) and The Letter (Wyndham's Theatre). Her film and television credits includes A Brixton Tale, Holby City, Sex Pistols v Bill Grundy, Coronation Street, Drifters, My Mad Fat Diary, Cuckoo, W1A, Emmerdale, Peep Show, The Taking of Prince Harry and EastEnders. During the first lockdown, Karen recorded the web series Housebound and voiced characters on video games Hitman 3 and Watchdogs: Legion, alongside the audiobooks for children’s adventure series Below the Green.
A SPLINTER OF ICE is directed by Alan Strachan with Alastair Whatley and designed by Michael Pavelka, with original music composed and sound designed by Max Pappenheim, lighting designed by Jason Taylor and casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG.
A SPLINTER OF ICE is produced by Original Theatre Company.
UK TOUR SCHEDULE
8 - 12 June MALVERN Festival Theatre 01684 892277
15 - 19 June GUILDFORD Yvonne Arnaud Theatre 01484 44 00 00
21 - 26 June MOLD Theatr Clwyd 01352 344101
28 June - 3 July BATH Theatre Royal 01225 448844
6 – 10 July YORK THEATRE ROYAL 01904 623568
13 - 17 July EDINBURGH King’s Theatre
20 – 24 July CAMBRIDGE ARTS THEATRE 01223 503333
26 – 31 July MAST Mayflower Studios, SOUTHAMPTON 02380 711833
Photo credit: James Findlay