Rod Natkiel, former Head of Network Production at BBC Birmingham, Chair of West Midlands Arts and inaugural Chair of Screen West Midlands, is returning to the Birmingham arts scene to direct Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece anti-war play ‘For Services Rendered’ at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre. Situated in Brindleyplace, the play marks the start of Crescent 2015/16 Studio season and opens Saturday 19th September.
“This is a play that, for more than 15 years, I’ve wanted to direct.” says Rod. ”Hugely controversial in its day, beautifully crafted and scripted – and a brilliantly told story – it is one of the most forthright and powerful British anti-war plays ever written. It’s rightly now considered by many critics to be Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece.”
“Though written more than 80 years ago, it is absolutely a play of today, exploring issues including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, assisted suicide, infidelity, hypocrisy and mental breakdown as a totally dysfunctional family implodes and disintegrates. With Maugham’s masterful craftsmanship, this is set against the seemingly tranquil and gentile backdrop of the “tea, tennis, cards and chess” middle-class life of rural England. And there’s comedy too, albeit very, very dark.”
Rod was responsible for all BBC Birmingham’s networked TV programming from 1992 to 1996, adding to that its networked Radio output as well until 1999, when he left the BBC to form his own production company. Before that, he worked as a Theatre Director (highlights including working with the then virtually unknown Alan Bleasdale) and a TV Producer and Director. His long list of broadcast credits include being the launch producer and director of “Children’s Ward”, which went on to be ITV’s longest running children’s Drama series, and producing and directing “Krypton Factor” in the most successful 3-year period of its history.
Since forming his own event and media production company, his productions have included concerts headlined by Dionne Warwick at the Royal Albert Hall and the Apollo Victoria Theatre, one of the Community Channel’s most successful ever TV drama commissions, “Kismet Road”, and major events for a wide range of clients in the majority of the UK’s top venues. He has also become one the UK’s leading specialists in fund-raising films for charities, now having made more than 200.
Rod says: “My association with the Crescent goes back a long way to visiting the new theatre when it was still a hard-hat construction site during my time as Chair of West Midlands Arts.”
“The opportunity to direct a play I’ve always wanted to for an organisation with extremely high standards and a great reputation, and whose productions I have enjoyed immensely over the years, was irresistible.”
“With our very talented, hard-working and committed cast, I’m confident that we will do Somerset Maugham proud. I hope that all theatre lovers will take this opportunity to see a British masterpiece that, largely because of cost (it’s a big cast) is rarely performed.”
For Services Rendered runs from Saturday 19th to Saturday 26th September in the Studio Theatre at 7.45pm, with matinees Sunday 20th and Saturday 26th at 2.45pm. Tickets cost £11, with £10 Concessions, and the Sunday matinee at just £6. Tickets can be bought online at here, by phoning the box office on 0121 643 5858 or in person.