It was announced today that Philip Quast, one of Australia’s most esteemed international theatre performers will play the role of the suave and cynical Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, in the 2012 stage production of Yes, Prime Minister.
Quast will be joined by Mark Owen-Taylor and John Lloyd Fillingham as the embattled Prime Minister Jim Hacker and Jim’s hapless assistant, Bernard Woolley respectively.
Based on the well known 1980s BBC television series Yes, Minister (1980-1984) and the sequel, Yes, Prime Minister (1986-1988), the show will open at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre on January 31, ahead of a national tour. Canberra audiences can expect the show in the country’s capital from March 21, and Sydney will host the show from April 3, 2012.
The dates of the Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide are yet to be announced. Written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn (who both penned the original television series), the play is set to once more reveal the awkward marriage between civil servants and politicians.
“Like the classic TV series this West End hit is very witty, very fast paced, very clever and very unpredictable”, said Andrew Guild, joint producer with Simon Bryce, Tim Woods and UK partners Yes, Prime Minister (International) Ltd.
“It’s guaranteed to have audiences walking out whistling the tunes: global warming, government cynicism and manipulation, the role of the media, asylum seekers”, he said.
Yes, Prime Minister has been the toast of British theatregoers since its opening in September 2010 at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Set in the present day, in the infamous country residence of the British Prime Minister, Yes, Prime Minister will bring the riotous inner workings of Westminster to the Australian stage.
This announcement confirms rumours that the three time Olivier Award winner Philip Quast, currently playing Mr Banks in the hit musical Mary Poppins would be leaving the show after the Sydney season.
His performance in Mary Poppins earned him a Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical this year. Quast has starred in Royal Shakespeare Company productions, as well as shows for the National Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse. He is also well known in Australia for his years as a presenter on the ABC children’s show, Play School.