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Familiarity breeds content Stafford Shakespeare cast

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

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EXPERIENCE is the name of the game as the cast for the annual Stafford Festival Shakespeare arrived in town this week to start rehearsals.

With several of them having appeared in previous shows they have hit the ground running.

But there will also be a fresh feeling to the show as this year's production of As You Like It is the first to be sold to another venue.

Top of the list of returning heroes is king of the castle Eric Potts who has appeared in a string of SFS shows.

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The comedy giant played Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night in 2009; Sir John Falstaff in Merry Wives of Windsor in 2010 and Dromio of Syracuse in Comedy of Errors in 2011.

He also played Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2012 and now he is back as Touchstone.

Legendary Only Fools and Horses funnyman John Challis – he played Boycie in the long-running cult show – will play the melancholy Jacques.

Other returning Stafford Castle veterans include Esther Biddle (Phoebe) who appeared in The Comedy of Errors and was a member of the cast for the UK tour of Chess and Jennifer Greenwood (Celia) who played Hernia in the SFS production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and has an extensive list of theatre credits as well as being a founder member of comedy cabaret group Three Little Maids.

Having played Balthasar in 2012's Romeo and Juliet and Flute in last year's show James Haggie returns as Le Beau/Silvius.

Graham Kent brings a wealth of experience to his role of Duke Senior/Duke Frederick, having appeared at the castle in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Romeo and Juliet.

His West End credits include Miss Saigon and film credits include Disney's The Muppets Most Wanted.

Rada-trained Georgina White (Rosalind) was last seen in Stafford last year playing Helena and her credits include Blonde Bombshells of 1943; The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe and Oklahoma!

Johnson Willis (Adam/Corin) will complete a hat-trick of SFS appearances.

As You Like It will open in Ludlow for two weeks before coming home to Stafford from June 29 to July 12.

For times and tickets see www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk or call 01785 254653.

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