Eddie Izzard Leads Joe Egg Back to Comedy, 5 DecDate: 9 November 2001
Laurence Boswell's critically acclaimed revival of Peter Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg will receive a new lease of West End life next month when it transfers to the Comedy Theatre where, coincidentally, the play received its original London premiere in 1967. The production finishes its current limited run at the New Ambassadors Theatre on 24 November then reopens for another eight-week season at the Comedy on 5 December 2001.
At its new home, comedian Eddie Izzard will take over from Clive Owen as Bri, the young father struggling to come to terms with the burdens of caring for his brain-damaged daughter. His official opening night in the part will be on 11 December. Owen must leave at the end of the New Ambassadaros schedule due to filming commitments.
Izzard was last seen in a West End acting role in 1999, playing American comedian Lenny Bruce in Lenny. His other stage credits include The Cryptogram, Edward II and 900 Oneonta, while on film, he's appeared in Velvet Goldmine, Shadow of the Vampire and The Avengers. As a stand-up comedian, Izzard has a huge following for his touring comedy shows and videos such as Dress to Kill and Glorious.
The rest of the Joe Egg cast - Victoria Hamilton (as wife Sheila), Prunella Scales (as Bri's mother Grace), John Warnaby (Freddie) and Robin Weaver (Pam) - remains the same with the Comedy transfer. The production is designed by Es Devlin, with lighting by Adam Silverman and sound by Fergus O'Hare.
Boswell's revival is the first major London staging of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg since the original 1960s production. Combining elements of tragedy with grim humour, the play is widely recognised as dealing sympathetically with the difficulties faced by parents and carers in such a situation.
The 1967 version of Joe Egg won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play, with a Tony Award for Best Revival bestowed in 1985. The 1971 film interpretation, adapted by Nichols himself, starred Alan Bates, Janet Suzman and Peter Bowles. It was directed by Peter Medak (who went on to make Let Him Have It and Romeo Is Bleeding) and won a United Nations film award.
Another Peter Nichols revival, his 1977 musical comedy Privates on Parade, opens next month at the Donmar Warehouse. It is directed by Michael Grandage and stars Roger Allam.
- by Terri Paddock