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Six Degrees of Simon Callow

So, we would be lying if we said we aren't just a little bit excited to welcome The Philanthropist to Trafalgar Studios next month... Christopher Hampton's 'bourgeois comedy' takes place in an English university town with the surprising backdrop of the Prime Minister's assassination, along with his entire cabinet. And in true form, this classic play's long awaited return to the West End also brings with it some pretty clever and pant-wettingly funny actors.

Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole, Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Rosenthal are the famous faces (though 'national treasures' may be more appropriate) that will be forming what we can only refer to as the capital's super-cast. And what's more, the whole thing will be under the expert supervision of none other than theatrical legend and one-man powerhouse Mr. Simon Callow

'Six degrees of separation' is the idea that based on who we know - and thanks to our obscure friends and 'friends of friends' - we are only six or less connections away from anybody else in the world. By these rules, Callow's cast are lucky to now consider themselves only one, tiny degree away from the main man himself. However, our scrupulous digging has confirmed that these six iconic team members do in fact go much, much further back than The Philanthropist rehearsal room...

With the help of several award-winning TV shows and some prolific co-stars, we want to show you just how inter-connected the web of association really is for this new cast. So hold onto your seats for the first public unveiling of the latest academic theory taking the world by storm: Six Degrees of Simon Callow.

So let's start at the very beginning. Introducing our first cast member...

1. Lily Cole

Degree studied: Social and Political Sciences - King's College, Cambridge

Discovered outside a burger shop at age 14, Lily Cole was the youngest model to cover British Vogue. If that wasn't enough for you, Cole also graduated with a first from Cambridge, is a tech entrepreneur and still finds time to be an actress. You may have seen her as a siren in Doctor Who; in an array of independent short films; or in big blockbuster films such as St. Trinian’s with Tamsin Egerton and Paloma Faith, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus alongside Heath Ledger. 

Degree of seperation: You may or may not know that Lily Cole was in Snow White and the Huntsman alongside this funny-man…

2. Matt Berry

Degree studied: Contemporary Arts - Nottingham Trent University

Another multi-talented performer, Matt Berry is an actor, writer and musician who has worked with the likes of Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade. If you don’t know him by face, you may know him by voice as he’s voiced adverts for Volvic, The Natural Confectionery Company, Absolute Radio and Moneysupermarket.com. Best loved for his portrayal of Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd, Berry recently created and starred in Toast of London whose cast includes Doon Mackichan.

Degree of separation: The wonderful Doon Mackichan can also be seen in ancient comedy Plebs. But who else starred in this?… 

3. Tom Rosenthal

Degree studied: Philosophy - King's College London

Actor and son of legendary sports broadcaster Jim, Tom Rosenthal is also, like Berry, an accomplished comedian. A regular at the Edinburgh Fringe, he has been nominated for a British Comedy Award and starred in TV shows like Plebs and Flat TV. Eagle-eyed viewers may also spot him falling over in the background of Bridget Jones’ Baby… 

Degree of separation: Tamsin Greig famously plays Tom Rosenthal's mum in Friday Night Dinner. But fans of the show will also of course remember, that the second bickering brother is played by none other than… 

4. Simon Bird

Degree studied: English - Queen's College, Cambridge

Another Edinburgh performer, Simon Bird has created and starred in Chickens as well as appearing in Friday Night Dinner and Drunk History (which has also been visited by Rosenthal). His most notable role to date has been playing Will in The Inbetweeners which we have to thank for bringing the phrase "Feisty one you are!" to all corners of the country. Simon also happened to pick up two British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA nominations for this performance. Not bad...

He starred in all three series and the subsequent movies alongside the 'Simon' to his 'Will': long-time collaborator Joe Thomas.

Degree of separation: Besides The Inbetweeners, Joe Thomas is best known for university-based series Fresh Meat. This also starred… 

5. Charlotte Ritchie

Degree studied: English and Drama - University of Bristol

Most recently Charlotte Ritchie has been seen in Call The Midwife and as university student Oregon in Fresh Meat with Zawe Ashton, another Trafalgar Studios alumnus (The Maids, 2016). However, did you know that Charlotte had one of her first gigs as an unpaid extra in the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom on the set of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? And her teacher in this scene was the inimitable Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, played by titan of screen Brendan Gleeson

Degree of separation: 2017 news is that Brendan Gleeson will be starring in upcoming film, Hampstead. But I wonder who in May of last year was also announced to be featuring in the cast?...

6. Simon Callow

Degree studied: English - Queen's University Belfast

You guessed it! A veteran of British theatre, Simon Callow, CBE has starred in many West End plays including Being Shakespeare, which also had its debut at the one-and-only Trafalgar Studios. As well as being a keen writer of biographies, Callow is no stranger to film and television. Having earned a BAFTA nomination for Four Weddings and a Funeral, he’s also had the greater honour of guest-starring in the British classic series Doctor Who.

Degree of separation: Doctor Who has of course had many well-known names featuring in it's sci-fi storylines over the years. A siren-like creature appeared in one episode... Who could have possibly played it? We all now know that it was, of course, the lovely Lily Cole...

You can crack open the wine now, because we're finally back where we started to begin the six degrees all over again. Fear not though, as we've mapped out all the surely-not-coincidental connections and trivia in full below, to help your team dominate at your next pub quiz!

Can you find any more connections between The Philanthropist cast? Only a couple of degrees away from Simon Callow yourself, or any other of the show's stars? 

Let us know any of your connections by Tweeting us, using the hashtag #SixDegreesOfCallow

Booking is now open to see the team in action at Trafalgar Studios from 3rd April - 22nd July 2017

Click here to buy tickets to The Philanthropist now