Words: Will Stroude
Layton Williams and Harrison Scott-Smith are set to star in a new online revival of Jonathan Harvey's acclaimed Aids drama Hushabye Mountain.
Former Everybody's Talking About Jamie star Williams and stage newcomer Scott-Smith will appear in Hope Mill Theatre's production of the 1999 play from Beautiful Thing writer Harvey, which follows a young gay man waiting to get into heaven after passing away from an Aids-related illness - as well as the loved ones he's left behind.
Directed by Nick Bagnall, who starred in the original 1999 production, the revival of Hushabye Mountain also stars Nathan McMullen (Misfits), Matt Henry (Kinky Boots), Jodie Prenger (BBC's I'd Do Anything) and Amy Dunn (The Turn of the Screw).
From left-right: Nathan McMullen, Jodie Prenger, Matt Henry and Amy Dunn
The show will be streamed live on Saturday 5 June before being made available to watch online from 11-13 June and then 18-20 June.
Hope Mill Theatre will be partnering with The Turbine Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, Liverpool Everyman and York Theatre Royal to show the production.
Released six years after Beautiful Thing - the seminal queer play that propelled Liverpool-born Harvey to fame - Hushabye Mountain quickly established itself among the pantheon of '90s theatre productions exploring the human cost of the Aids crisis.
Of the latest revival, which comes 22 years after the show first debuted at the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe, Harvey says: "I am so thrilled Hope Mill, one of my favourite theatres, are mounting this revival of Hushabye Mountain.
"As we move through this current pandemic with vaccine-shaped hope on the horizon, I am reminded of a different pandemic, and the time when combination therapies started being trialled and seemed to work for people with HIV. It felt like one day my friends were dying, the next they were surviving.
"The play is about a group of friends in that moment of time, back in the 90s, coping with the shifting landscape."
He adds: "I am also chuffed that Nick Bagnall, who played Ben in the original production, is directing. We've got a top cast and I can’t wait for new audiences to discover this piece."