Preview: A Number at the Nuffield


Caryl Churchill’s acclaimed play, A Number, is coming to The Nuffield theatre as the start of the Nuffield’s season of celebrating Science and Art. The play focuses around Bernard, who finds out at age 35 that he’s not an only child, but is in fact one of a number of clones. Chaos ensues as he confronts his father Salter about the scientific experiment that caused this, and as the clones reveal themselves, Bernard’s identity is challenged.

A Number was written at a time when cloning was highly prolific in the news, but it remains just as relevant today as when it was first performed. It’s a play that questions the morality behind cloning and explores complex family relationships such as guilt and rivalry. Churchill pushes boundaries with her writing, and it’s a play that is sure to leave you thinking.

A Number

Image (c) Richard Budd

The play is to be directed by Michael Longhurst (check out The Edge’s interview with him, coming soon), who has previously directed Jake Gyllenhaal’s American stage debut, and whose Royal Court production of Constellations was nominated for 4 Olivier awards and won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play 2012. This production marks Longhurst’s first collaboration with Tom Scutt (set design) and Lee Curran (lighting) since their award winning production of Constellations.

This production of A Number is made particularly exciting as the two lead roles, Bernard (and his clones) and his father, Salter, are to be played by father-son combo John and Lex Shrapnel. Jon Shrapnel has appeared extensively in film, television, theatre and radio, including the films Troy and Gladiator, and his most recent performance was as part of the company in Kenneth Branagh’s production of Macbeth. Lex Shrapnel has appeared in the films Captain America: The First Avenger and Thunderbirds, as well as playing Jamie Cartwright in the 2009 reboot of television series Minder.

A Number will appear at the Nuffield theatre from the 6th to the 22nd of February 2014. Tickets are £15 available from the Nuffield website.


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Snack queen and entertainment journalist. Records Editor 2014-2015 & News Editor 2013-2014 for The Edge.

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