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Miles Jupp In ‘The Life I Lead’ in Norwich

© Piers Foley

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The Life I Lead tells the comic and moving story of David Tomlinson’s life. Starring Miles Jupp, the acclaimed actor and comedian, this one-man play will be at Norwich Playhouse for three performances on Fri 1 & Sat 2 March, and at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds for four performances on Thu 7 – Sat 9 Mar, both as part of its premiere tour.

Best remembered for playing ‘Mr Banks’ in Disney’s classic film Mary Poppins as well as ‘Professor Emelius Browne’ in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, British actor David Tomlinson was renowned for playing the classic English gent: forthright, proper, and a loveable fool. His meeting with Walt Disney came to encapsulate his incredible life full of adventure and heartbreak. The Life I Lead sees Miles Jupp bringing David Tomlinson’s remarkable story to life.

As a World War Two fighter pilot, Tomlinson’s early life contained action and adventure; but he suffered huge heartbreak with the tragic death of his first wife, and his fight to have his son Willie recognised as one of the first British cases of autism. The man who portrayed one of cinema’s most famous patriarchs was also defined by his relationship with his own father – a remote eccentric, who was hiding an extraordinary tragicomic secret.

The Life I Lead is a richly comic and moving tale of fathers and sons across the generations and fills in the blanks behind a very well-known face.

Described by the Telegraph as “a very British tour-de-force”, Miles Jupp has appeared as a performer across a wide range of genres – from stand-up comedy and theatre to major television series and Hollywood films. His extensive screen credits include the award-winning BBC2 sitcom Rev, The Thick Of It and Outnumbered as well as the popular children’s TV show, Balamory, The Crown on Netflix, Howards End for the BBC, and The Durrells Move for ITV, as well as appearances on Have I got News For You, QI, Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Live At the Apollo.

Playwright James Kettle is both a narrative and entertainment comedy writer, and a long-time collaborator with Miles Jupp; lead writer of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, and numerous episodes of In and Out the Kitchen.

Miles Jupp said “I was attracted to this first because of the character of Tomlinson himself- a man whose acting performances seemed effortless but concealed a great skill beneath the surface and not a little magic. And then by the story of his life, beautifully written by my frequent collaborator James Kettle, which is full of surprises.  It is a script that contains both comedy and moments of extraordinary sadness and pain and I hope that under the direction of Selina Cadell, one of my most favourite people in the world, I can do the play and Tomlinson justice.”

The Life I Lead will be at Norwich Playhouse Friday 1 March 7.30pm and Saturday 2 March 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets are £20, or £17.50 for concessions and matinee. For more information, visit norwichplayhouse.co.uk.

The show also has four performances at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 March. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office, call 01284 769505, book online at www.theatreroyal.org or visit the theatre in person.

The Life I Lead is produced by Jonathan Church Productions and Exeter Northcott, directed by Didi Hopkins and Selina Cadell, designed by Lee Newby.