Bremner makes an impression with translation of Brecht

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rory Bremner is swapping impersonations of Tony Blair for translations of Bertolt Brecht in a new season of work for the Young Vic in London.

The impressionist, who studied French and German at university, is to translate one of the playwright's early and rarely performed works, A Respectable Wedding. Bremner has previously translated the operas Carmen, by Georges Bizet, and The Silverlake, by Kurt Weill, and had wanted to do more theatre work.

He said: "I've done a bit of life, I've done a bit of imitating, and it's now time to do art. I just needed a change, a project that was different. It's a challenge. It's altogether more satisfying than trying to master an impression of David Cameron."

Bremner said the play was a comedy of manners dating from 1919, but he was being encouraged to adapt it freely rather than keep it as a period piece. He admitted the translation could be a stepping stone to writing his own plays. "I don't think I could write an original play yet, but I'm hoping to learn from the experience. I'm unofficial head of puns. I came up with the title for the season - The Big Brecht Fest."

A Respectable Wedding is one of four plays by Brecht which will feature in the new season at the Young Vic when it re-opens on 11 October. The others are being translated by Martin Crimp, Biyi Bandele and Enda Walsh, to be presented in double bills next spring. The venue will also stage Tobias and the Angel, a community opera by Jonathan Dove and David Lan, featuring professionals and local amateurs.

Other works at the venue - which will have two smaller theatres in addition to the revamped main house - include an adaptation of D B C Pierre's Booker Prize-winning novel, Vernon God Little. David Lan, the Young Vic's artistic director, said he had a rule not to present book adaptations "until something comes along that is impossible to resist". Norris, the award-winning director of plays including Festen, said the story was "a gift for theatre".

The Christmas show will be another musical, The Enchanted Pig, also by Dove, based on a Romanian folktale, and there will be new plays by Dennis Kelly and Debbie Tucker Green. Continuing its tradition of reviving neglected classics, the season also includes The Soldier's Fortune by the 17th-century playwright Thomas Otway.

The Young Vic was originally built by the National Theatre in the late 1960s as a theatre for young people not far from its temporary home at the Old Vic.

During the redevelopment, by the architects Haworth Tompkins who also transformed the Royal Court, the theatre has performed Walkabout, a series of 22 shows in 41 theatres and 30 cities across Britain and Europe. The actor Jude Law spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the transformation which has raised 97 per cent of its £12.45m target. He said: "I've been proud to be part of the rebuild campaign from the start. It is so satisfying to see it come to fruition - which is itself a new beginning."