Following on from the smash-hit success Wonderland, his inaugural production as Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse, Adam Penford enters rehearsals on Monday (26 February) for his next show: a theatrical version of the multi-award-winning novel Holes by Louis Sachar.
Joining Adam in the rehearsal room will be Chris Ashby, fresh from appearing in Wonderland as Malcolm, alongside EastEnders, Grantchester and The Worst Witch star Kacey Ainsworth.
Chris Ashby as Stanley Yelnats in Holes and as Malcolm (right) in Wonderland
Set in Texas, Stanley Yelnats (Chris Ashby) can’t catch a break. Born into a family cursed with bad luck – thanks to Stanley’s ‘no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather’ – it comes as no surprise when he finds himself accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Sent to Camp Green Lake (it isn’t green and there is no lake) as punishment, he is made to dig a hole every day – five foot deep, five foot in diameter – in the baked earth to ‘build character’. But the powerful Warden (Kacey Ainsworth) is definitely searching for something.
Kacey Ainsworth with Holes director Adam Penford
Will Stanley and his fellow inmates survive the heat and thirst, the deadly yellow-spotted lizards and the Warden’s ambitions? And more importantly, will they discover what they are really digging for before time runs out?
Joining Chris Ashby and Kacey Ainsworth will be Playhouse regular John Elkington as Mr Sir. As well as appearing as our much-loved Panto Dame for many years, John has also starred in productions such as Noises Off and The Cherry Orchard. Local actor Elizabeth Twells also returns to the Playhouse as ‘Kissing’ Kate Barlow – she was last seen on our stage as Jenny Hardwick in the adaptation of the John Harvey thriller, Darkness, Darkness.
John Elkington in Aladdin and Elizabeth Twells in Darkness, Darkness
Continuing our commitment to diversity, Holes has been cast gender-blind, with some of the male inmates being portrayed by female actors. Taking the role of Stanley’s best friend at Camp Green Lake, Zero, is Pepter Lunkuse. Other inmates at the camp include X-Ray (played by Ammar Duffus), Magnet (played by Safiyya Ingar), Armpit (played by Henry Mettle, marking his debut professional stage performance).
This family-friendly adventure story includes live music, puppetry from the Resident Puppetry Director on War Horse (Matthew Forbes), and breath-taking scenery. The show is suitable for adults and children aged eight and up.
Adam Penford said: “Holes is an amazing story of friendship and justice. It has a gripping narrative, enchanting characters and real jeopardy. I wanted a family-friendly production that would appeal to both our pantomime and drama audiences. The film and novel are extremely popular with both adults and children, which makes Holes a perfect choice.”