Walliams Gets West End Debut in No Man's LandDate: 2 July 2008
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 28 Mar 2008), Little Britain star David Walliams (pictured) will make his West End debut starring alongside Michael Gambon in Rupert Goold’s new production of Harold Pinter’s 1975 modern classic No Man's Land. Following initial dates at Dublin’s Gate Theatre from 21 August to 20 September 2008, the production transfers to the West End, opening on 7 October (previews from 27 September) at the Duke of York’s theatre, where it’s initially booking until 3 January 2009.
Walliams rose to fame alongside Matt Lucas in the BBC sketch series Little Britain, which went on to have three series and a sell-out live tour. Since then, he has played Frankie Howerd in Rather You Than Me and Greville White in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary, both for the BBC. His other television credits include Waking the Dead, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased and George Eliot: A Scandalous Life. His film work includes the forthcoming Prince Caspian, as well as Run Fat Boy Run, A Cock and Bull Story, Stardust and Plunkett and Maclean.
Michael Gambon was previously seen in Pinter’s The Caretaker, directed by Patrick Marber in the West End in 2000, and the 2005 all-star rehearsed reading of Celebration, commemorating the playwright’s 75th birthday and Nobel Prize win. His last West End appearance was in the wordless, 30-minute Samuel Beckett playlet Eh Joe in 2006.
First seen in 1975, No Man's Land concerns a wealthy Hampstead aesthete, Hirst (Gambon), who meets a shabby and penniless poet, Spooner, and invites him home for a late-night session of drinking and games, overseen by his henchmen, Briggs and Foster (Walliams). Since its premiere at the National, its major London revivals have included a 1992 Almeida production, which starred Pinter and transferred to the West End, and a 2001 production, directed by Pinter and starring Corin Redgrave and John Wood, back at the NT.
Walliams and Gambon are joined in the cast of this new production by David Bradley (who was in another production of Pinter’s The Caretaker, with Nigel Harman last year, and has just been seen in The Quiz) as Spooner and Irish actor Nick Dunning (Briggs).
Rupert Goold, artistic director of Headlong Theatre company, won three Best Director gongs this year – the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier – for his Chichester Festival production of Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart, which subsequently transferred to Broadway (See News, 13 May 2008). He’s also heading Cameron Mackintosh’s big-budget revival of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, overseeing a Headlong season - that includes his own productions of Pirandello’s reworked Six Characters in Search of an Author, opening this month at Chichester, and King Lear with Pete Postlethwaite, at the Liverpool Everyman in November (See News, 29 Jan 2008) – and was recently appointed an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (See News, 20 May 2008).
No Man's Land is designed by Giles Cadle, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound and music by Adam Cork. It’s produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, which has collaborated with the Gate Theatre, Dublin many times in the past. Gate artistic director Michael Colgan has a unique association with Harold Pinter, having presented four festivals of his work to date.
- by Theo Bosanquet & Terri Paddock