Dennis Leads Jermyn St Drowning on Dry LandDate: 14 January 2011
Former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis will star in the London premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Drowning on Dry Land which explores fame and celebrity through the rise and fall of an injured sportsman and useless quiz contestant who becomes famous just for being a failure.
First performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2004, the production will open at London's Jermyn Street Theatre on 24 February (previews from 22 February) where it will run until March 19.
Drowning on Dry Land is directed by Guy Retallack whose recent credits include the UK tours of Future Me and the Watermill Theatre's production of Micky Salberg. Retallack's other credits include Future Me for Theatre503 and two years spent as literary manager and dramaturg for producer Bill Kenwright.
Set in the vast Victorian folly of the main character, sports star Charlie Conrad, Drowning on Dry Land is described as a "sharp and pertinent comedy" which reveals the fickle nature of the fame game when Conrad is caught in a compromising situation with the female clown at his son’s birthday party.
Playing the role of Charlie's agent, Les Dennis has a varied list of West End and touring credits including the London productions of Chicago and Me and My Girl. He was the host of ITV's long-running game show for 12 years from 1987 to 2002. Dennis also appeared in the UK tours of Hairspray, Art and High School Musical 2.
Dennis' other stage credits include When We Are Married for West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Servant of Two Masters at Cardiff's New Theatre and Neville’s Island for Birmingham Rep. Full casting for the production has still to be announced.
Drowning on Dry Land premiered in the round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough in May 2004, where Alan Ayckbourn was artistic director. The role of Charlie Conrad was created by Stephen Beckett.
The play is Alan Ayckbourn's second major work exploring celebrity culture and the media, his 1988 Man of the Moment was one of his most significant plays of that decade. The writer of 75 plays, more than half of which have been produced in the West End and on Broadway, Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings is currently playing the NT Lyttelton where it continues in rep until 13 March 2011.