, set in East London, tells the story of Caesar Ramsey, who, having been raised by successive generations of single women is struggling to be a father when faced with an all-too-familiar and very unwelcome situation by his teenage son, Nelson. Can Caesar support Nelson's choices even though he thinks he is making gargantuan mistakes?
Director Dawn Reid (The Harder They Come and also Associate Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East), this fresh and insightful look at family life by Beadle-Blair is very relevant to all:
is a universal story that I think touches many issues that families have to deal with. From what good parenting is, to attitudes towards teenage pregnancy and the whole issue of disciplining children. I hope that the show will give the audience the opportunity to reflect and discuss, and see just how essential it is to be able to talk and to listen to each other. Rikki is a fantastic writer who doesn't hold back and isn't afraid to deal with any subject. His style always manages to entertain while getting the key messages across.'
Indeed writer Rikki Beadle-Blair
, has drawn on his own experiences with youth to bring the story to life:
'I have young people in my life that I've kind of adopted, and I struggle to balance being responsible for their guidance with my duty to encourage them to outgrow me and move on. I have issues with letting go of those I love. That's all in FAMILYMAN
. I am Caesar! And Nelson and Deanna and Evita and Precious... I am all the characters in the play! They are splinters of me, in passionate debate with one another - thrashing out the meaning of everything, trying to make sense of it all.'
Delivered with razor-sharp wit, FAMILYMAN
asks some vital questions for 21st century parents while providing the lively and involving entertainment that Theatre Royal Stratford East is known for. This says Beadle-Blair is the goal
'The Stratford East audience is part of the play, and I bear that in mind when I write for this theatre. That kind of honesty of response - it's thrilling! So while I hope that the audience will review their own attitudes to family and friendship, I also hope they'll be entertained! . In the end it's an evening out. I hope it will be one to remember!
is directed by Theatre Royal Stratford East's Associate Director Dawn Reid
and boasts a hugely talented cast that also includes Llewella Gideon (Absolutely Fabulous, The Crouches BBC), Jo Martin (Stupid, The Crouches BBC), Jo Castleton, Ayesha Antione, Ricci Mcleod and Aaron Taylor
2nd May 2008 31st May 2008 (Press Night: 8th May 2008)
Tues Sat -Evenings - 7:30pm
Tues 13th May (only) 6:30pm
Matinees Wednesday 14th May and Sat 31st May: 2pm,
Tickets: Tues Sat & Matinees - £12, £19, Children and Conc. - £8, £12
'Be 1st to see' nights, 2nd 9th May, all seats £10.
Interview with Gary Beadle
'When I was 16', says Gary Beadle 'My brother Rikki told me that I was an actor and that's all I've ever been.' Not that 16 was the beginning for the venerable Beadle who's stage and screen credits have made him one of the UK's favourite actors.
Indeed Gary Beadle's first performance was at the tender age of 8 when he performed in a stage version of Bugsy Malone, his brother Rikki Beadle-Blair's first foray into directing.
From there Beadle and his siblings, brother Rikki and sister Carleen, went to the Anna Scher Theatre School
in Islington on the recommendation of Alan Parker's secretary who had attended the youngsters' performance at their local community centre. This led to a number of opportunities including performances at the Old Vic and for Thames Television before it was time for him to choose a career before sitting his o-Levels.
'I remember when I was at school we were forced to choose one of the career cards from a big box. I remember looking into the box and thinking that I couldn't find anything that was close to actor so as a compromise I chose Cinema Manager! When I got home Rikki tore the little card up and set me straight. "Gary you are an actor". It was like a light had been switched on and I knew that was all I would ever do.'
And he has - the former EastEnders star
left school and has actively pursued life as a jobbing actor constantly on the search for the new roles and characters ever since. Indeed 40 year-old Gary has never held any other position having devoted himself to growing and developing as an actor and as a person through the many different characters he has played.
It is this need to constantly change and try new things that led Gary to make the somewhat surprising (for his fans at least) decision to leave EastEnders.
'I didn't want to do the same thing forever. One of the main reasons that I got into acting
was so that I could play several different people and live in other people's worlds. It was also never about celebrity for me as much as attention I suppose. I like pleasing the audience. I also enjoy the ability to influence people's thinking through performance.
Gary will next be seen in the role of Caesar Ramsay, in Family Man
, a new production written by Rikki Beadle Blair which runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East in May. Caesar, a young father, is shocked to discover that his son seems to be repeating some of the mistakes that he himself made while growing up.
'What I like about the story is that it deals not strictly with black or white issues but rather family issues.
Caesar could be any man wanting the best for his children. As a parent myself (Gary has two boys aged 17 and 6), I understand what it means to want to see your children be successful and safe. Caesar's response to the situation with Nelson, his son, is therefore very interesting and even though the play is a comedy I think it gives the audience a lot to think about from both the perspective of parents and children. And of course "he adds" my brother is an extremely talented writer!'
runs from the 2nd 31st May 2008 at Theatre Royal Stratford East.