Josie Lawrence and Gay Soper to play ‘Berthe’ in Menier Chocolate Factory’s PIPPIN


Josie Lawrence and Gay Soper join Louise Gold and Caroline Quentin to take on the role of Pippin’s grandmother Berthe in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Pippin, a colourful, imaginative and darkly humorous coming-of-age story with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, The Baker’s Wife, Godspell) and book by Roger O. Hirson.

Gay Soper, who will take over the role from Caroline Quentin for one week from 24th January, most recently starred in Noel Coward’s Star Quality, which she will reprise on tour next month before appearing in a new production of the stage comedy Doctor in the House, as Matron, with Robert Powell and Joe Pasquale.

Other theatre credits include Lend Me a Tenor (Gielgud); Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Sunday in the Park with George  (Wyndhams Theatre/ Menier Chocolate Factory) which won five Olivier Awards in 2007; Les Miserables (as Madame Thenardier, 1988-91, Palace Theatre); Salad Days (Vaudeville); The Mitford Girls (Gielgud); Side By Side By Sondheim, (Wyndhams, Garrick); original London Cast of Godspell (Roundhouse/ Wyndhams 1971); Canterbury Tales (Phoenix); Good (RSC at Aldwych); Billy (Drury Lane) and Yvette in Mother Courage (NT)

Josie Lawrence, who will play Berthe for one week from the 7th February, is perhaps best known for her recent role as Manda Best in EastEnders and her ongoing participation in the popular C4 comedy show, Whose Line Is It Anyway?  Her other TV credits include Robin Hood (BBC), The Old Curiosity Shop (ITV), Fat Friends and Absolutely Fabulous. On stage she has appeared in Hapgood (Birmingham Rep/Yorkshire Playhouse); Much Ado (Globe Theatre); Acorn Antiques (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Frozen (National Theatre); and in the West End and on tour in The King & I and Picasso’s Women.

Louise Gold will return for the week of 30 January and the final two weeks of the run, 14-25 February.

Also in the cast are Carly Bawden, Harry Hepple, Ian Kelsey, Matt Rawle and Frances Ruffelle with Ben Bunce, Bob Harms, Holly James, Anabel Kutay, Stuart Neal, David McMullan and Kate Tydman.

The production is directed and choreographed by Mitch Sebastian and incorporates Bob Fosse’s original Tony Award-winning choreography. Timothy Bird returns to the Chocolate Factory for the first time since winning the Olivier Award for Sunday in the Park with George to design the set and projections. Lighting design is by Tony Award winner (for Chicago) Ken Billington, costume design by Jean-Marc Puissant, orchestrations and music supervision by Simon Lee, sound design by Gareth Owen and musical direction by Tom Kelly.

Pippin is being presented at the Chocolate Factory in conjunction with Michael Jackowitz/Arlene Scanlan and Adam Blanshay/Natalie Macaluso.

7 December 2011 – 25 February 2012
Performances:  Tuesday-Saturday evenings at 8.00pm
Matinees: Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm
Box Office: 020 7378 1713; £2 transaction fee per booking
Website: (£1 transaction fee per bkg)