Casting has been announced for the much-anticipated stage production of Marvellous – the remarkable story of Stoke City FC kit man, clown and all-round local hero, Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin
Featuring a seven-strong cast including neurodiverse actors, Marvellous will be performed by Suzanne Ahmet (Pride and Prejudice, Grosvenor Open Air Theatre Chester); Charlie Bence (Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis, Park Theatre London); Gareth Cassidy (The 39 Steps, The Prince and the Pauper, New Vic); Alex Frost (The Full Monty, UK Tour); Michael Hugo (Coppelia – A Mystery, The 39 Steps, New Vic); Jerone Marsh-Reid (The Strange Tale Of Charlie Chaplin And Stan Laurel, UK Tour) and Daniel Murphy, who will all play versions of themselves playing Neil Baldwin and a whole host of other characters.
A brand new play commissioned especially for the New Vic, Nello’s local theatre, and created in conjunction with Neil Baldwin himself, the production takes to the stage at the New Vic from Friday 11 March to Saturday 9 April. With words almost entirely Nello’s own, Marvellous combines a playful script with physical comedy and New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins’ iconic directorial style, to bring to life this incredible story about how you can realise your dreams – even when society tries to limit you with a label.
New Vic Artistic Director Theresa Heskins said: “Through thick and thin, the prospect of staging the story of Nello’s inspirational life has given us cause to smile. His optimistic outlook and talent for happiness rubs off on everyone he meets. And Marvellous is going to do exactly the same. It’s a story of joy and sadness; of realising dreams; of belonging and othering; of how labels both limit us and protect us; of what constitutes a hero – and why we need them. It’s a play that is as straightforward, direct and sunny as Neil is: it will fill audiences with optimism, bring people together and spread happiness.”
Neil Baldwin said: “Theresa said ‘I would like to make a play about you’ and I thought ‘why make a play about me?’ which is the same thing I said about the film. The cast are lovely, we’re friends already. I am really looking forward to seeing it all come together, I hope the theatre will be filled every night! It’s going to be great.”
Previously adapted into a BAFTA winning film and a book, Neil’s life-affirming story now inspires this brand-new stage play. The production also forms part of the celebrations at the New Vic to mark the 60th anniversary of its theatre making in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Originally the Victoria Theatre Company, the first professional theatre company in Britain to perform permanently in-the-round and founded 60 years ago in October 1962 by Peter Cheeseman, Marvellous continues the New Vic tradition for producing documentary-style plays that tell stories of real-lives.
Marvellous takes to the stage at the New Vic from Friday 11 March to Saturday 9 April 2022. Tickets are on sale now, priced from £18.50 – £27.50. For more details and to book, call the Box Office on 01782 717 962 or visit newvictheatre.org.uk
(Main image Andrew Billington.)