New Wolsey premieres all-star thriller this weekend

What A Carve Up! – The New Wolsey’s all-star murder-mystery thriller – receives its online premiere this weekend and is the first production the theatre has produced since the Covid pandemic shut the main house in March.

The production, which features such star names as Griff Rhys Jones, Stephen Fry, Rebecca Front, Sir Derek Jacobi, Dervla Kirwin , Tamzin Outhwaite and Olivier-winner Sharon D Clarke, is a joint production with The Barn Theatre in Cirencester, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and has been directed by Tamara Harvey from Theatr Clwyd.

The New Wolsey’s artistic director Peter Rowe said that the opportunity to take part in this unusual co-production came about as a result of having talks with The Barn Theatre about developing a long-term co-producing relationship between the two theatres before lockdown happened.

He said that the production has been written and directed with a view to make it as distinctive and engaging online experience rather than make it a passive ‘TV’ presentation.

“The idea was to make it as theatrical an experience as we could. The audience are booking tickets for a specific performance, there are programmes which you can buy, along with recipe cards and suggestions for a fine-dining experience you can have before the performance begins and the way that the story is told is a mixture of live action, audio, visual collage – it’s incredibly imaginative and engaging and really brings the story to life.”

The technique had previously been successfully used on a digital production of Nigel Slater’s Toast by the Lawrence Batley Theatre. “I had a look at it and was quite impressed by the style of the piece and thought it would work well on What A Carve Up, which Henry Filloux-Bennett from Lawrence Batley also had the rights for.”

The play chronicles the events leading up to the ‘Winshaw Murders’. Filled with murder, mayhem and madness, the murder mystery turns a satirical eye on what it is like to be a member of one of the most corrupt, powerful and toxic families in the country.

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“The play is a lovely balance between a murder-mystery thriller and a funny, irreverent satire. It’s very cleverly done and hopefully will be very entertaining for people.”

The play features leading West End stars Alfred Enoch as Raymond Owen, Jonathan Bailey as Henry Winshaw, Samuel Barnett as Michael Owen, Robert Bathurst as Thomas Winshaw and Fiona Button as Josephine Winshaw-Eaves.

The performance is best viewed on a PC computer screen, a laptop or on a smart TV. After booking a ticket for a timed performance, an email will be sent with a screening link which will expire 48 hours after the start time.

What A Carve Up!, based on the novel by Jonathan Coe, adapted by Henry Filloux-Bennett runs online from October 31 to November 29. Tickets can be booked through the New Wolsey website.

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