Writer takes on leading role as Daytona arrives at Richmond Theatre next month

Daytona: Atonement, love and revenge

Daytona: Atonement, love and revenge

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Oliver Cotton’s critically-acclaimed play Daytona, starring Olivier-award winning Maureen Lipman, Harry Shearer and Cotton himself, is making its way to Richmond Theatre this September.

The David Grindley-directed production enjoyed a successful West End run and now sees prolific actor Cotton, who features in the Dark Knight Rises and has starred in Harold Pinter’s Homecoming on the West End, in a career first playing a part he has written himself.

The role of Billy, who appears on his brother’s doorstep after a 30-year absence, was originally played by John Bowe, but when the television star became unavailable, Cotton was the obvious choice to fill his shoes.

Cotton says: "I never wrote the role with myself in mind for the part.

"I’ve found playing a part I’ve written is just as difficult as one written by someone else. The acting part of the brain is very different to the writing part."

Nevertheless, the Penny Dreadful actor has enjoyed sharing the stage with his supremely talented co-stars, The Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer, who played bassist Derek Smalls in 1984’s This is Spinal Tap, and star of The Pianist Maureen Lipman.

He says: "I have a huge amount of respect for the cast and we all get on very well.

"Maureen is exceptional - I would go so far as to say this is her best work, and Harry is just fantastic and perfect for his part."

The play sees the quiet lives of Shearer and Lipman’s happily married ballroom dancing enthusiasts Joe and Elli turned upside down by the sudden appearance of Joe’s long-lost brother.

Cotton says: "It is a play about atonement, love and revenge, but it is also very funny."

  • Daytona; Richmond Theatre; The Green, Richmond, Surrey; September 1-6; Tickets £10-£37.90; 0844 8717651, atgtickets.com/richmond.

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