Been So Long - Omar and Cat by Dan Burn Forti
Romance, rage, revenge and rare groove. Been So Long is a neon-soaked new musical comedy written and directed by Che Walker, with music by Arthur Darvill. Internationally acclaimed soul singer Omar plays lovelorn barman Barney. The cast also includes Cat Simmons, Naana Agyei-Ampadu, Harry Hepple and Arinze Kene.
Barney's bar is about to close down for good. Yvonne and Simone are cruising for action. Raymond stole Gil’s girl and now Gil wants to slice him up. Barney just wants a quiet life and time to moon over Simone. When all five collide, their desires ignite in a brassy blast of agro, laughs and unexpected romance.
Love looks set to conquer the two who swore they could live without it. But how can they ever know it’s for real? Been So Long is a feisty, stand-up and sing-out funk musical about dealing with the frustrations of lust and love. Arthur Darvill’s soul, funk, jazz, reggae and blues score will exhilarate, with backing vocals by Gemma Knight Jones, Samantha-Antoinette Smith and Jenessa Qua.
Singer, musician and songwriter Omar has six successful albums to his name since his debut hit ‘There’s Nothing Like This.’ In a career spanning two decades, he has collaborated with major artists including Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Estelle and Angie Stone. His seventh album will be released later this year.
Cat Simmons returns to the Young Vic where she was last seen in Simply Heavenly. Other theatre credits include Aladdin with Ian McKellen (Old Vic), We Happy Few (Gielgud and Malvern Theatres) and Whistle Down the Wind (Aldwych). Film and television credits include Life ‘n’ Lyrics and the regular role of DC Kezia Walker in The Bill.
Writer, actor and director Che Walker’s punchy, urban writing brought him high praise for The Frontline, the first contemporary play to be staged at Shakespeare’s Globe. It will be revived there in May. Other plays have been produced at the National Theatre, the Royal Court and internationally. He won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2003 for Flesh Wound (Royal Court). He has directed at Soho Theatre, the NT, Royal Court and The Tricycle.
Arthur Darvill’s music credits include Che Walker’s plays The Frontline (Globe) and Crazy Love (Paines Plough), Mike Bartlett’s Artefacts and 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (Bush). As Artistic Associate of the Bush Theatre he is under commission to write a full scale musical for 2009. As an actor, he was nominated for the 2007 Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award for his performance in Terre Haut (Trafalgar Studios and national tour) other theatre work includes Swimming with Sharks (Vaudeville). TV credits include Little Dorrit (BBC) and He Kills Coppers (ITV). He is currently filming the Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll with Ray Winstone and Mackenzie Crook.
As a straight play Been So Long premiered at the Royal Court in 1998 then toured in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, with workshops in New York and Los Angeles. It was the runner-up for the John Whiting Award 1998.
Been So Long is the first co-production between the Young Vic and English Touring Theatre. Tickets Been So Long is on at the Young Vic from 11 June to 15 July.
Address: The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ
Tickets: £22.50 (Previews £15) A limited number of tickets are available at discount.
Box Office: 020 7922 2922
Following the Young Vic dates it will play at the Latitude Festival (16 - 19 July). Other future dates to be announced
ATN review of Been So Long
ATN interview with Arinze Kene