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Critically acclaimed The Match Box transfers to London’s Tricycle Theatre

19th February 2013 Leanne Best  in The Match Box (c) Christian Smith2

Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse announce London première of critically acclaimed The Match Box by Frank McGuinness at the Tricycle Theatre.

Frank McGuinness’s visceral play, The Match Box, had its world première at the Liverpool Playhouse in June 2012. The Everyman and Playhouse are proud to announce that it will transfer to London for a month-long run at the Tricycle Theatre from 2 May to 1 June. Bafta-nominated actor and director Lia Williams directs Leanne Best as Sal, a role which earned her a nomination for Best Performance in a play at last year’s Theatre Awards UK.

Making its debut in the intimate Liverpool Playhouse Studio last year, The Match Box, played to packed audiences who were enthralled by Leanne Best’s astonishing performance, with the run extended twice due to popular demand.

Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director of the Everyman and Playhouse, said: “The Playhouse studio was re-opened to provide an intimate environment for world class theatre. We are thrilled that this coruscating world premiere by one of the world’s greatest writers will now find a new audience in London. Directed by one of our most lauded and respected actresses, performed by one of Liverpool’s most astonishing performers and we are proud to be presenting this production at the Tricycle Theatre.”

The Match Box is a passionate story of love and hate, after a family tragedy has far reaching consequences for everyone involved. This intense drama shines the spotlight on Sal as she looks back at the circumstances that have led her to leave England for the small island of Valentia on the coast of County Kerry.

Frank McGuinness is one of Ireland’s foremost playwrights and poets. The Match Box follows Greta Garbo Came to Donegal which appeared at the Tricycle Theatre in 2010 gainng critical acclaim. His body of work includes The Factory Girls, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Dolly West's Kitchen and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. He has also adapted many classic texts including A Doll’s House for which he was nominated for a Tony Award and Oedipus at the National Theatre in 2008.

Lia Williams’s formidable stage career includes Tony and Olivier nominations for her performance in Skylight and she is currently appearing in Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Lia has also received a Bafta nomination for her performance in the BBC’s May 33. She has directed several short films including The Stronger, written by Frank McGuinness, which was nominated for a Bafta for Best Short Film. The Match Box marks her stage directorial debut.

In 2012 Leanne Best was the only female nominated in the Best Performance in a Play category at the Theatre Awards UK for her role as Sal in The Match Box, she also made her National Theatre debut in Frank McGuinness’s Damned By Despair. The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (LIPA) graduate has established herself as one of the Everyman and Playhouse’s most prominent actresses in productions such as Unprotected and The May Queen (Liverpool Everyman); A Streetcar Named Desire, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Our Country’s Good (Liverpool Playhouse). Leanne’s television credits include Good Cop and Moving On for the BBC and she is currently appearing in the American première of Backbeat at the Ahmanson theatre in Los Angeles.

The Match Box is designed by Colin Richmond, a former Linbury Biennial Prize Finalist who previously worked for the Everyman and Playhouse on The May Queen and When We Are Married. His other design credits include The Three Musketeers & the Princess of Spain (ETT/ Traverse) and Futureproof (Dundee Rep/Traverse). Lighting designer Charlie Lucas’s credits include In Blood: The Bacchae (Arcola Theatre) and Von Ribbentrop's Watch (Oxford Playhouse). The sound design and composition is by Giles Perring.

The Match Box follows in the footsteps of a number of other Everyman and Playhouse productions to play on London stages in recent years. The Swallowing Dark by Lizzie Nunnery, which re-launched the Playhouse Studio in 2011, transferred to Theatre 503 and Graham Linehan’s adaptation of The Ladykillers and Ghost Stories by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson were both nominated for Olivier Awards following successful West End runs having had their first performances at the Liverpool Playhouse. King Lear with Pete Postlethwaite played at the Young Vic having been one of the standout productions of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year, while The Caretaker with Jonathan Pryce transferred to Trafalgar Studios in 2010 and last year completed an international tour including a month-long residency at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

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