Arundel Festival: TV sitcom star ‘comes of age’

After years growing up as part of TV‘s Harper clan, actor Gabriel Thomson is now heading for the Arundel Festival.

The 25-year-old plays the clever clogs son Michael in the long-running BBC domestic sit-com My Family.

Now he finds himself in the tricky situation of one of Shakespeare’s star cross’d lovers, caught between the warring Capulets and Montagues, in Romeo & Juliet.

Festival spokeswoman Susan Fleet said: “Gabriel appeared in more than 100 episodes of the BAFTA award-winning My Family, starring Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker. Now, in a role that shows his true coming of age, he will appear as Romeo in GB Theatre Company’s outdoor production of Shakespeare’s masterpiece at Arundel Castle, in the all-consuming dramatic highlight of this year’s Arundel Festival.

“Gabriel began his career as a child actor, appearing as Pip in the BBC’s 1999 version of Great Expectations. Among his big screen successes was a role in the epic World War Two drama Enemy At The Gates, set in snowy Stalingrad, where he played alongside Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Ed Harris.

“But his appearance in the most famous love story ever written, with its tragic conclusion, will be played out against the summery backdrop of the Castle’s atmospheric Collector Earl’s Garden – described as an evocation of a Jacobean garden - which was the scene of GB Theatre Company’s Shakespearean triumphs last summer, during its inaugural season.

“The company, which insists on traditional costumes and texts, was established to present the best of spectacular open-air theatre. It actively continues the tradition of travelling theatre troupes, familiar in Shakespeare’s time, by presenting accessible, quality productions in beautiful venues.

“Its welcome return visit to Arundel will also include a performance of another of Shakespeare’s love stories, Twelfth Night. Romeo & Juliet will be performed on August 25 and 27, and Twelfth Night on August 26.”

For tickets and booking information ring the Arundel Castle Ticket Office on 01903 882173 or visit www.arundelcastle.co.uk and www.arundelfestival.co.uk.