Theater Round-Up: Victoria Yeates Talks ‘The Dog Walker,’ Rhys Ifans, Geraldine Somerville and Jamie Parker Return to the Stage

Feb 24, 2020

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Actor Interviews, Broadway, Casting, Events, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Honors/Awards, HP Cast, Interviews, J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, News, Round-Up, Theater, Theater Round-Up, West End

This week’s theater news covers the upcoming theater work of Fantastic Beasts’ Victoria Yeates, Harry Potter’s Rhys Ifans and Geraldine Somerville and Cursed Child’s Jamie Parker. It also touches on two new Jack Thorne projects: Netflix series The Eddy and the stage production After Life. Cursed Child Melbourne gets a new cast for its second year, and William McKenna, the young Scorpius Malfoy, received a nomination for a Green Room award. Finally, singer and composer Imogen Heap sat down with the Wall Street Journal for an interview with a bit of technological magic.

Read on for more details!

Victoria Yeates Discusses Upcoming Play The Dog Walker

The Dog Walker - Paul Minx - Jermyn Street Theatre - 12th February 2020 Director - Harry Burton Designer - Isabella Van Braeckel Sound Designer - Fergus O’Hare Lighting Designer - Tom Turner Keri - Victoria Yeates Doakes - Andrew Dennis

Leaky reported in January that Victoria Yeates, who captured our attention as Bunty in Fantastic Beasts, will star in The Dog Walker, a “heartwarming comedy about loneliness and friendship in the big city.” 

Yeates appeared on London Live to promote the play by Paul Minx, further described as a production “as moving as it is funny, as optimistic as it is poignant” by Broadway World.

She called the play “darkly funny” and noted that it has a “Woody Allen-esque quality,” adding that it’s about “loneliness, redemption, compassion and reaching out to people…nobody’s ever quite lost. Maybe they seem lost but maybe there’s another way.” 

Yeates sports a New York accent for the play but does not have a real dog on stage. Interestingly, she revealed that she once worked as a dog walker herself, which no doubt informs the performance, and now she’s just thankful to finally be performing for an audience!

Finally, London Live closed out the interview by asking Yeates how it felt to step into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. She replied:

“[It’s] like a dream land. The sets are just vast, and the detail that goes into them, it’s like being a child in a fairy tale. And I honestly, you know, you get to see your wand, and it’s so detailed, and working with Eddie Redmayne–he’s just the loveliest guy. David Yates is the nicest director ever, and, you know, it’s amazing, it’s a lot to do with character. There were lots of chats with David about character development, and it’s really exciting to see how [Bunty] does develop over the next few films.”

We can’t wait to see Yeates reprise her role in the next Fantastic Beasts film, which will reportedly begin filming this spring! In the meantime, watch the full London Live interview below and go see her in The Dog Walker at the Jermyn Street Theatre.

Rhys Ifans’ London Run in To Kill a Mockingbird Extended


Rhys Ifans, memorable in the role of Xenophlius Lovegood in the Harry Potter adaptations, was cast as Atticus Finch in the London transfer of Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Previews don’t begin until May 21, but the production’s run has already been extended two months. It officially premieres June 11 with performances now scheduled through Oct. 31.

Considering the success of the Broadway venture starring Jeff Daniels, this is in no way a risky bet, and the production, based on the novel by Harper Lee, has long been considered a classic.

According to the London Theatre, tickets to To Kill a Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre are available now.

Harry Potter’s Geraldine Somerville Cast in The Glass Menagerie


Geraldine Somerville, known to Potter fans for portraying Lily Potter in the Harry Potter film series, has been cast in Royal Exchange’s The Glass Menagerie.

Somerville took the stage in the same production 30 years previously. At that time she played Laura Wingfield. The Stage reported that this time around Somerville will take on the role of Amanda Wingfield.

The Glass Menagerie, directed by Atri Banerjee, runs from June 5 to July 4.

Leaky will cover more details as their released, so look for rehearsal updates and first look photos as the spring season approaches!

Jack Thorne Talks Making The Eddy With Damien Chazelle


Jack Thorne piqued our interest as the writer who collaborated with J.K. Rowling and director John Tiffany to create Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But his prolific writing career began before that pivotal production and has continued on steadily since, with numerous credits in stage, film and television to his name.

Now he’s teamed with director Damien Chazelle to pen an eight-part miniseries for Netflix about a Parisian jazz club nearing closure. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he observed:

“The thing that really interested Damien was 1960s new wave. That’s what we were thinking about all the time, but it had to be contemporary. My dad was a town planner, and I’ve always been fascinated by urban planning, and the ring road in Paris is very interesting, the way that it excludes on financial and racial grounds a lot of Parisians. There’s sort of an inner circle of wealth. It’s not as hard line as this, but I’ve noticed it with London and it’s certainly true in New York. There’s something about Paris that is so interesting for that. So it’s about a jazz club on the outside, just outside the ring road. [It’s about] that relationship and how the city functions and the way that crime and music and survival all sort of intercede.”

Thorne takes his writing seriously and seems undaunted by the complexities of the subject matter or the broad range of genres he’s asked to work in. Asked how he’s able to so easily move between different projects, he mused:

“I like it. I like the palette changes. I did have an amazing writer team on this that I was feeding off all the time. But in terms of switching, I’ve always loved it. When I was writing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I was also writing the TV show National Treasure. So I was literally swapping between a boy wizard and a rapist.”

By no means an easy task, Thorne seems to relish the challenge, even thrive on it, commenting:

“It’s always something that I’ve loved because when there is a clear difference, you’re not going to end up writing the same thing in the same scene and in the same way. You’ve got to switch your entire head, and I can’t sleep if I haven’t written something that I think is OK. So when you’re really floundering on one project, there’s something really beautiful about swapping across.”

Read more of Thorne’s interview in The Hollywood Reporter here, and look for The Eddy to be a part of the Netflix contribution to Series Mania, which offers a wide-ranging sampling of scripted dramas from around the world. Variety reported that it will debut its 11th edition on March 20.

Also note that Jack Thorne’s newest stage play is coming to the National Theatre this season. The Stage reported that Thorne has adapted After Life, which is based on the film by Hirokazu Kore-eda. It is set to open in January 2021. More details will follow!

Cursed Child Australia Gets New Ron and William McKenna Nominated for Green Room Award


The NZHerald announced that Kiwi actor Michael Whalley will be the next to play Ron Weasley in the Melbourne production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The Australian production is still young, just entering its second year, but it’s by no means Whalley’s debut. He has appeared on stage before, winning an award for his performance in Muriel’s Wedding the Musical. He has also featured in television and film, most recently taking on parts in WWII epic Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, Slow West with Michael Fassbender and Backtrack with Adrien Brody and Sam Neill.

The new cast members are now in rehearsals and will begin performances on Wednesday, Feb. 26.


In other Cursed Child news, the Melbourne production’s Scorpius, William McKenna, has been nominated for a Green Room award.

According to Limelight Magazine, the Green Room Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Melbourne’s live performance sector for opera, theatre, musicals, dance and cabaret from the 2019 season with McKenna scoring a nomination in the newly-added category Outstanding Performance.

He’s competing with Jing-Xuan Chan (Golden Shield), Michael Wahr (Shakespeare in Love), Ursula Yovich (Barbara and the Camp Dogs), Steve Bastoni (A View from the Bridge), Daniela Farinacci (Oil), Natasha Herbert (Cloudstreet), Naomi Rukavina (Control), Zahra Newman (Wake in Fright) and Carly Sheppard (Anthem).

Two winners will be announced at the award ceremony on March 30 at the Melbourne Comedy Theatre.

Jamie Parker Joins West End Play The Doctor


Jamie Parker originated the role of adult Harry in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and is now returning to the West End stage to join the cast of Robert Icke’s The Doctor at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

Parker joins new cast members Juliet Stevenson, Chris Colquhoun, Shelley Conn, Anni Domingo, Liv Hill and Millicent Wong with  Mariah Louca, Daniel Rabin, Joy Richardson, Naomi Wirthner and Hannah Ledwidge  set to reprise their roles.

The play runs from April 18 to July 18, The Doctor tickets are available now!

Imogen Heap: The AI Interview


Imogen Heap is the innovative artist behind the mesmerizing soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and she recently sat down for an interview with the Wall Street Journal that highlighted her interest in technology. Specifically, they compared answers predicted by an algorithm to actual answers about favorite song lyrics, how Heap prefers to relax, advice for young musicians and more.

Watch the amusing video interview with the WSJ here!


The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.