Theakston Makes Stage Debut in 24th Art Cast, 4 MarDate: 21 February 2002
Jamie Theakston will make his West End stage debut next month in Yasmina Reza's Art, currently playing at the Whitehall Theatre. The TV presenter and DJ joins Stephen McGann and Christopher Luscombe in the 24th cast of the long-running comedy about three friends who fall out over a piece of modern art. They take over for a limited season, with previews starting from 4 March 2002.
Best known as a Radio One DJ and presenter on television offerings such as Top of the Pops, The Priory and children's show Live and Kicking, in his younger days, Theakston (who plays Serge) was a member of the National Youth Theatre, along with art director Matthew Warchus.
McGann, brother of fellow actors Mark and Paul, was formerly a regular on TV's Emmerdale, while the RSC-trained Luscombe is now also well-known for his directorial efforts, including Star Quality, currently starring Penelope Keith at the West End's Apollo Theatre.
Originally running for nearly five years at Wyndham's Theatre, where it opened in October 1996, the London production of Art - translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus - has long attracted well-known actors for its short stints. The original cast starred Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott. Subsequent casts have featured Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion and Art Malik as well as comedians Frank Skinner and Jack Dee. Imported American casts have also brought the likes of Patrick Duffy, Richard Thomas, Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Stacy Keach to the West End.
Theakston, McGann and Luscombe, all in their 30s, will comprise the youngest-ever Art company. They take over from Nigel Havers, David Lloyd Pack and Richard Griffths. The last, a previous cast member, stepped in for just two weeks this month following the unexpected death of actor Barry Foster on 11 February 2002. A separate production - starring Leigh Lawson, Simon Shepherd and Philip Franks - is currently touring the country.
- by Terri Paddock