Choosing Joe Egg

Incoming Artistic Director Dominic Hill chose black comedy A Day in the Death of Joe Egg as the centre-piece of our Autumn season 2011. We spoke to Dominic to find out why he chose this play, which first premiered at the Citz in 1967 (written by Peter Nichols and first directed by Michael Blakemore)...

"I chose this play because I love it and because I think it's brilliant. As I write this in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I'm very aware how much comedy tackles hard, moral, even taboo issues and through humour manages to find a way to discuss these ideas in an entertaining and still thought provoking way.

This is exactly what Joe Egg does - with the skill, wit and brilliance of a comedian, Nichols tells a story and explores issues that are close-to-the-bone, and timeless. That is why the play appeals to actors and comedians to perform (why Eddie Izzard was so brilliant and why Phillip has cast Miles Jupp and Miriam Margolyes) [Ed. Phillip Breen - Director].

At the heart of the play is the story of a marriage - this is not a play about disability or even about caring for the disabled - it is an incredibly touching and painful dissection of a marriage. And it is about how we all have aspirations and ambitions which often remain unfulfilled because of the cards dealt to us.

And it is perfect for the Citizens Theatre. When Blakemore first spotted it in 1967 he recognised that it drew on the whole vaudeville/music hall/stand up tradition which the Citz is part of. The play creates an intimacy with the audience through addressing them directly. The Citz auditorium is perfect for this.

And I chose it because the play is part of the Citz' history and part of the history of British theatre in the past 50 years. It launched a major playwright, it starred at the time actors who were to become household names, and it showed how theatre could deal with the trickiest of subjects within a form that was accessible and highly entertaining."

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg will be directed by Phillip Breen and the cast announced so far includes Miriam Margolyes, Miles Jupp and Olivia Darnley.

Citizens Theatre
Wed 19 Oct - Sat 12 Nov 2011
More info