Written by Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet tells the story of African American actor, Ira Aldridge. In 1833 at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden, the greatest actor of the generation, Edmund Kean, has collapsed onstage whilst playing Othello and Aldridge is asked to take over the role. As the public are rioting in the streets about the abolition of slavery, there is an entirely different revolution happening in the theatre. But how will the cast, critics and audience react?
The show is directed by Indhu Rubasingham and stars Adrian Lester as he reprises his role as Ira Aldridge. Lester graduated from RADA and is well-known for starring in the hit TV series Hustle. He has extensive credits in theatre, including playing the title roles in Othello, Henry V and Hamlet. Red Velvet has seen Lester be nominated twice for Best Actor, in the 2012 WhatsOnStage Awards and the 2013 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Further cast members include Ayesha Antoine as Connie, Simon Chandler as Bernard Warde/Terence, Alexander Cobb as Henry Forrester/Casimir, Mark Edel-Hunt as Charles Kean, Emun Elliot as Pierre Laporte, Charlotte Lucas as Ellen Tree, Caroline Martin as Halina Wozniak/Margaret Aldridge and Amy Morgan as Betty Lovell.
Branagh said of Red Velvet, "I was aware of its development from its inception and believe Chakrabarti has written an important and exhilarating play which in its discussion of performance, politics, and race is as entertaining as it is illuminating."
Red Velvet will open on January 23rd and is booking until February 27th 2016 at the Garrick Theatre.