Colin Morgan headlines Brian Friel’s Translations at the National Theatre with a host of other TV stars. Here’s everything you need to know...
There’s great news for theatre fans who also love everything TV, the National Theatre’s new production of Brian Friel’s powerful play, Translations, stars a host of talented TV actors including former Merlin frontman Colin Morgan.
Brian Friel’s modern classic is set in 1833 and tells the story of prodigal son Owen (Colin Morgan) who returns to his rural Donegal community from Dublin. With Owen are two British army officers planning to map the local area, replacing Gaelic names with English ones – an administrative act with far-reaching consequences.
Among those starring alongside Colin Morgan are Game of Thrones’ Ciarán Hinds and Casualty’s latest medical addition Michelle Fox, also known as junior doctor Bea Kinsella to fans of BBC1’s long-running medical drama.
Here’s our guide to who’s who in Translations and how you know them…
Armagh-born Colin is best known to TV fans for his roles in BBC1’s Merlin, C4’s Sci-Fi drama Humans, and his memorable role in sinister serial killer series The Fall with Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson.
Colin, 32, plays Owen in Translations. The son of schoolteacher Hugh, he returns from Dublin to his Donegal homeland with two British soldiers who wish to map the area around fictional town Baile Beg (Ballybeg) and need his help as a translator. During the course of the play Owen ultimately must decide where his loyalties lie.
Respected Belfast actor Ciaran Hinds is instantly recognisable for his big screen work, which include Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Sea. His recent television work includes Game of Thrones, Shetland and My Mother and Other Strangers.
Ciaran, 65, stars in Translations as Hugh, the booze-loving father of Owen and Manus, who wants to become a teacher like his dad. Intelligent and opinionated, Hugh runs the local hedge school and realises the inevitability of English as the language of Ireland and what that may mean for the future.
If you think you recognise Dermot Crowley from somewhere, you probably do. This diverse Cork actor has starred in everything from Father Ted (as Father Liam Deliverance) and Son of Pink Panther to Hard Sun and Luther.
Dermot stars as Jimmy Jack in Translations, an elderly, unmarried man and a student at Hugh’s school. He can speak classical languages, but is a stranger to cleanliness!
Probably best known as moody teenager Trish in Chris O’Dowd’s comedy Moone Boy, Aoife also starred in the stage adaptation of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half Formed Thing.
Here she plays Bridget, local gossip and girl about town in Translations. A tad vain but also good-natured Bridget is opposed to the English presence in Ballybeg.
Nigerian-born British actor Adetomiwa is another familiar TV face and has starred in a tonne of telly favourites including Law & Order: UK, Merlin (he played Elyan from 2010 – 2012), The Hour, Bates Motel and Doctor Who, to name a few!
In Translations Adetomiwa is playing the part of Lieutenant Yolland, who begins to fall in love with Ireland and a local girl called Marie. He implicitly understands how the English translations of Irish place names will erode Irish language and culture. When Yolland disappears and is presumed kidnapped, his boss Captain Lancey threatens the future of Ballybeg in retaliation.
We’re assuming Michelle Fox needs no introduction to Casualty fans. She’s a big hit on the medical drama since joining as junior doctor Bea Kinsella earlier this year. Before Casualty Michelle appeared in Doctors and starred in Overshadowed. She’s also due to appear in A Very English Scandal with Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, on BBC1 soon.
Michelle plays Sarah, a shy, almost voiceless, local girl with a speech problem who has chosen to be mute for most of her life. With kindness and encouragement Sarah begins to learn the value of saying her own name with the help of Manus, who she’s comfortable talking to, until catastrophe strikes the community…
Also appearing in this star-studded production directed by Ian Rickson are Laurence Kinlan (Love/Hate) as Doalty, Seamus O’Hara (My Mother and Other Strangers) as Manus, Judith Roddy (The Fall) as Maire and Rush Wright (EastEnders and Miranda) as Captain Lancey. Translations runs at the National Theatre from 22 May until an unconfirmed time later this year.