Today's second comic book musical: Matthew McKenna leads Bananaman. Who's joining him?

26 Oct
Posted in: Theatre News
Author: Press Releases
Matthew McKenna is Bananaman

Matthew McKenna is “handsome hero” Bananaman. But who are Doctor Gloom, Crow, Eric Wimp and General Blight? Full cast now announced for the comic book page-to-stage premiere of BANANAMAN, commencing at London's Southwark Playhouse in December.

Matthew McKenna has been unmasked today as the star and “handsome hero” of Bananaman the Musical, which runs at London’s Southwark Playhouse from 15 December 2017 to 20 January 2018, with a press night on 4 January.  Full casting is announced today.

Bananaman, the Man-of-Peel, is flying out of the pages of much-loved comic Beano, and the hugely popular TV cartoon, in the world premiere of Bananaman the Musical, the hilarious new musical comedy by Leon Parris.

Bananaman is a unique member of the superhero ranks. He may have a jawline you can see from space and sport an exciting tight, lycra outfit, but this superhero has the muscles of 20 men and the brain of 20 mussels. Which isn’t much! Bananaman will be attempting to save the world this Christmas.

Matthew McKenna has appeared in many major West End musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Legally Blonde the Musical, We Will Rock You, Starlight Express (as Elektra), and The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff) and both Singing in the Rain and 42nd Street at the Theatre Du Chatelet, Paris.

Also starring, as Bananaman’s arch nemesis Doctor Gloom, the super villain seeking world domination, will be Marc Pickering (Young “Nucky” Thompson in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Montparnasse in the Les Misérables movie).

Bringing the rest of the residents of Acacia Road to life are a stellar West End cast. Jodie Jacobs (Broadway World Award Best Supporting Actress for Rock Of Ages) is Eric’s loyal sidekick, Crow. Mark Newnham (Dave Davies, in Sunny Afternoon) is Eric Wimp, and Carl Mullaney (Les Misérables, Chicago) is General Blight. Also in the cast are: TJ Lloyd (as Chief O’Reilly), Lizzii Hills (Mrs Wimp), Brian Gilligan (Mad Magician), Emma Ralston (Fiona), Chris McGuigan and Amy Perry.

The stars of Bananaman

Superman’s on holiday, Spiderman’s not picking up – our only option, our very very last option is …Bananaman. This new show with original music and songs is sure to a-peel to both young and old BANANAfans!

Bananaman began life in the Nutty comic in 1980, and was a runaway success, transferring to The Dandy before joining the world’s longest-running comic, The Beano in 2012 and he is now one of Beano’s flagship characters. A send-up of the likes of Superman and Batman, he was the subject of the hugely popular TV cartoon that ran between 1983 and 1986 for three series and 40 episodes on the BBC and featured the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie from The Goodies.

Fans of the TV series will remember the iconic opening sequence, “This is 29 Acacia Road. And this is Eric Wimp. He’s a schoolboy who leads an amazing double life. For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman. Ever alert for the call to action…”

Bananaman the Musical is written and composed by Leon Parris and directed by Mark Perry. The premiere production has musical supervision by Alan Berry, choreography by Grant Murphy and set and costume design by Mike Leopold. It’s produced by Sightline Entertainment with association with Cahoots Theatre Company and Beano Studios.