Spy for Spy – the world premiere of Kieron Barry’s innovative new two hander play – will open starring Olive Gray (Halo) and Amy Lennox (Cabaret) at Riverside Studios this summer, playing the Hammersmith venue’s Studio 3 from Thursday 15 June to Sunday 2 July, with a press night on Tuesday 20 June.
Spy for Spy is a romantic comedy with a difference; a drama performed like a playlist. The inner workings of a modern relationship are recounted in a random order so no two performances of this brand-new play by Kieron Barry will be the same.
Olive Gray (they/them) can currently be seen starring as Miranda Keyes in the Paramount+ series HALO alongside Pablo Schreiber and Natascha McElhone. It was released at the end of March 2022 and begins shooting a second season this year. In 2020 was seen in the lead role (Grace) opposite Lennie James in the second series of Sky Atlantic’s SAVE ME TOO for which they received fantastic reviews. Before that they were seen playing one of the lead roles (Jess) in BBC1 4-part series DARK MONEY opposite Jill Halfpenny and Babou Ceesay. Other notable credits include Max Minghella’s directing debut TEEN SPIRT which premiered at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Channel 4’s limited comedy/drama PURE opposite Joe Cole and Niamh Algar, Netflix series SEX EDUCATION and BBC comedy HOME FROM HOME with Johnny Vegas. They are a graduate of Guildhall drama school and is also a musician.
Amy Lennox (she/her) is most famous for playing the lead role of Sally Bowles in CABARET at the Playhouse Theatre. Her other theatrical credits include the original West End productions of LEGALLY BLONDE and KINKY BOOTS for which she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical. She played Ellie in the David Bowie and Enda Walsh musical LAZARUS when it played a limited season at the Kings Cross Theatre. For this, she was nominated for the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. In 2019, she joined the main cast of HOLBY CITY where she played the role of Chloe Goddard for three years.
Sarah and Molly are two Californians who love each other – and that’s all they have in common. As the uptight lawyer and the free-spirited dreamer strive to make their improbable relationship work, we see them break up, meet the parents, move in together and fall in love – all in a completely random sequence.
Spy for Spy asks if our lives make more sense in the wrong order, and if there is any logic to love as it zigzags from moving drama to laugh-out-loud comedy.
Can we have love without grief? Is honesty nothing more than cruelty? Is intimacy just spying?
Audiences will have the opportunity to affect the show they’re about to watch – they will be given the chance to meet the team before the show, and six will be asked to pick a song title at random. Each song title relates to a scene, and the order in which the song titles are picked will be the order in which the scenes are performed.
Director Lucy Jane Atkinson said, “I am so excited to be working with Olive and Amy on this show. They each bring with them a wealth of experience on stage and screen, as well as a playfulness, bravery, and enthusiasm which suits them perfectly to this piece. I can’t wait to get into rehearsal and see them bring these characters to life.”
In addition to this newly announced cast, the creative team consists of director Lucy Jane Atkinson and designer Bethia Jane Green with lighting design by Holly Ellis and sound design by Anna Short.
Spy for Spy is a co-production between Feather Productions, led by Anna Murphy, and TeamAkers – the TV production company led by Laurence Akers and Suranne Jones, making their first foray into theatre production.
Anna Murphy said,
“Feather Productions are really excited to be co-presenting this whip-smart, funny, and touching new play. Kieron Barry’s brilliant, connective writing breathes life into a love story perfect for our times: a couple subsumed by a flood of random memories as they recount their disordered relationship, a theatrical USP ensuring that no two performances can ever be alike.”
Laurence Akers said,
“TeamAkers are delighted to be involved in the production of Kieron’s excellent play. Spy for Spy beautifully illustrates the complexities of love and relationships and confirms the notion that the memory has no respect for order or continuity in matters of the heart.”
Suranne Jones added,
“This is our inaugural step into theatre production, and we couldn’t be prouder of the people who’ve come together to make this a reality.”
Writer Kieron Barry said,
“I was intrigued by the disparity between how we experience events and how we remember them. In contrast to our society’s endless promoting of the now, I have often found the present moment to be insubstantial compared to the reckless zeal of the past, which seems forever vivid and urgent as it crowds about us. Of course, here and there a huge event comes along and one suddenly feels alive and present again, yet the fate of such a moment is to become just another memory and so it continues. I wanted to write a play which would recreate the zigzagging, chaotic sensations of recollection, and in particular the act of summoning memory to examine the sharpest question of all: were we loved?”