Fun lovin' criminals: drug-dealing comedy script peppered with Kingston links
Fun Lovin’ Criminals Keith Allen and Denise Welch tell Jon Sharman why audiences will love Smack Family Robinson’s Kingston setting.
Prepare to meet a shady drug-dealing family who appear at the Rose Theatre in a play with a local twist.
Richard Bean’s acclaimed play Smack Family Robinson is coming to Kingston, literally.
He has re-written the 2003 original to include a host of local references, from Favourite Chicken in Clarence Street to Kingston Hospital.
The Surrey Comet even gets a mention.
The Robinsons have clawed their way up the criminal ladder, leaving behind their roots on the Cambridge Road estate and moving to leafy Petersham.
They will be brought to life by a cast including former Coronation Street star Denise Welch, and Keith Allen, directed by Richard Wilson.
Rehearsals began this week, and cast members are getting to know each other. Allen says the atmosphere is “superb”.
He says: “Richard Wilson is marvellous. It’s a wonderful cast. We’re all finding out about the play and each other, which is always a lovely time. I’m sure the play will reveal itself as we go along.
“This is the stage where you think they should have cast someone else.”
Welch says: “It’s a different way of working than I’m used to.
"This is a luxury really, to be able to spend the first week getting to know each other and the character.
“It’s a great cast – there’s so much talent in the room, which is lovely. I’m just thrilled to be part of it.”
And who would enjoy the play? Denise adds: “I think that anybody coming with a sense of humour, because people love local references.
“I think they should be quite proud to have this family of degenerates on the stage.
“They have gone 35 years without the police bothering them and suddenly they have a visit from the old bill.
“They’re a real paradox and a real contradiction – they do love each other, and it’s a kind of naivety.”
Richard Bean says: “With this play I always relocate to whatever town it plays in. Criminals and drug dealers live next door to us, none of us are immune.
"Indeed the more suburban and less urban the more likely you are to have a Mr Big living next door.”
Smack Family Robinson; Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston; March 28 to April 20; for more information and to book tickets, visit rose theatrekingston.org.