Rik Mayall Makes Stage Comeback in Laughter TourDate: 23 December 2002
Actor and comedian Rik Mayall will make a rare stage appearance in the new year - and the first since the 1998 quad bike accident that put him on the critical list - when he heads the cast of Dominic Dromgoole's new touring production of Noel Coward's Present Laughter. The tour kicks off on 20 January 2003 at Brighton's Theatre Royal before continuing until the end of March to eight further venues.
Set in the glamorous world of the theatre during the Jazz Age, Present Laughter is a witty portrait of the life that whirled round Coward in his heyday. The playwright penned the comedy as a vehicle for his own talent, with a lead role that was dangerously close to being autobiographical.
Flamboyantly vain and devastatingly handsome, charismatic charmer Garry Essendine (played by Mayall - pictured) is about to set off on an extended tour of Africa, when he's visited by practically everyone he knows including his ex-wife/manager, lawyer, secretary, butler, business partners, an admiring young playwright and a recent one-night stand! The stage is set for a battle of glittering egos.
The son of two drama teachers, Mayall made his stage debut at the age of six in his father's production of The Good Woman of Setzuan. At college, Mayall met Adrian Edmondson, with whom he formed the Twentieth Century Coyote comedy partnership, which continues to this day.
On television, Mayall is well known for roles in the massive cult comedy hits The Young Ones, Blackadder, The Comic Strip, The New Statesman and Bottom, while his film appearances include Drop Dead Fred and Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis. Amongst his stage roles Cell Mates, The Common Pursuit, Waiting For Godot and The Government Inspector.
Present Laughter is directed by Oxford Stage Company artistic director Dromgoole and designed by Michael Taylor with lighting by Natasha Chivers. Following Brighton, the production continues to Malvern, Wycombe, Oxford, Bromley, Glasgow, Richmond, Guildford and Bath.
- by Terri Paddock