Kelly Brings Mice & Men to London for Seven WeeksDate: 4 June 2003
Bouncing back from alleged scandal earlier this year, television presenter and actor Matthew Kelly is now set to conquer the West End. He will star in Jonathan Church's revival of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which comes to the West End's Savoy Theatre for a limited seven-week season from 23 October 2003 (previews from 21 October).
Written in 1937, Steinbeck's classic novel, which he later adapted for the stage, is set in California during the Great Depression. It follows two displaced characters, Lennie and George, as they seek the ever-elusive American Dream.
Kelly (pictured), who plays gentle giant Lennie, is best known as the presenter of TV game show Stars in Their Eyes, though his stage credits include Kafka’s Dick, Twelfth Night, Blue Remembered Hills and, more recently, Captain Hook in Birmingham Rep's Christmas production of Peter Pan. His arrest in January 2003, following accusations of child sex abuse dating from the 1970s, generated outraged newspaper headlines. But the claims were not substantiated and police dropped their charges in late February.
Despite the controversy at the time, Kelly honoured his Of Mice and Men commitments, launching – on schedule - the three-month, 11-venue tour, which opened on 11 February and finished in Richmond on 17 May. He's joined in the cast by George Costigan (from TV's Linda Green and Holby City and, on stage, Blood Brothers), who plays George in the Steinbeck play.
The production is directed by Birmingham artistic director Jonathan Church and designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and music by John Tams. It originally played to sell-out audiences at Birmingham in November 2001. The new production is co-produced by Birmingham Rep in association with the Touring Consortium.
NOTE: The Savoy Theatre is currently dark. Booking has not yet opened for Of Mice and Men.
- by Terri Paddock