Next Best Thing productions

By Nikolai Gogol

Dan Sumption and Andrew Hawcroft as Kochkaryov and Podkolyosin in Gogol's Marriage

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27th to 30th October 2004
Sheffield University Drama Studio

Andrew Hawcroft
Alex Gill
Rachael Sylvester
Dan Sumption
Zoe English
Louise Maxey
Jenny Careless
Mike Gordon
Will Bird
David Reid

Translated by Stephen Mulrine

Produced by Will Bird, Dan Sumption and Hannah Kingscote

Directed by Will Bird

"Marriage" was the first production from the new-look Sheffield-based Next Best Thing and a whole host of new faces were recruited to usher in this new era. The result was a comedy spectacular which was received far more warmly by the audience of 2004 than on its 1842 premiere in St Petersburg (they wanted happy endings back then!) The tale of Agafya, a young woman of independent means, being forced to choose a husband from a somewhat pathetic selection seemed to strike a chord, with the remarkable Zoe English in the role quickly gaining the audience's sympathy. The whole cast produced some brilliant physical comedy: from Alex Gill's doddery, dusty butler to Andrew Hawcroft's death-defying leap from a window at the end. The barmy army of lecherous suitors Agafya had to hold at bay were convincingly portrayed and Dan Sumption was just the right side of sinister as a somewhat deranged best man in search of a wedding - his manic energy contrasting well with the striking haughtiness of Rachael Sylvester's rival matchmaker. All in all a highly successful revival of a forgotten comic classic.

View clips from the performance:
On women        Marrying Mr. Right... or Mr. Omelet

Production notes for Marriage:
About Nikolai Gogol        Directing Marriage

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