Shakespearean fools

Brand and Henry tackle the Bard

Russell Brand and Lenny Henry are both taking on Shakespearean roles.

Brand is to play the jester Trinculo in a new Hollywood version of The Tempest; while Henry is to play Othello in a new touring production, starting in February.

As soon as the news was announced, Brand revealed his lust for his 63-year-old co-star – who will be playing the traditionally male role of Prospero.

He said: ‘She is so hot. There's something about her that drives me wild. She's so sexy and enchanting, just look at her form.

‘They're going to have to hold me back when we start work. I'll be all over her. I don't know how I'll get any work done.’

Meanwhile, Henry has announced his starring role in the Northern Broadsides production of Othello.

He has been in talks with the company about playing the Moor for some time. As far back as 2007, he took part in their masterclass about the play, when company manager, Barrie Rutter said he was ‘just sensational’.

At the time Henry said he was excited to be finally discovering the Bard. He said: ‘It seemed to me that Shakespeare was very much in the province of posh people. I'm black, I'm from Dudley, I'm working-class. Shakespeare's not for people like us.

‘But then when you study it, the way I have been, you realise that it's for everybody.’

Rutter is confident that the comic will be up to the task of the tragic role. ‘He's willing to try everything,’ he said earlier this year, ‘and it's obvious in the way he approaches everything that he wants to make a quantum leap.’

The production will at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, and end in Halifax, where Northern Broadsides is based. It will also visit Scarborough, Coventry, Bath, Kingston and Newcastle-under-Lyme

Published: 2 Oct 2008

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