As previously tipped (See The Goss, 5 Oct 2004), the touring production of Man and Boy, starring David Suchet, will transfer to the West End. It opens for a limited ten-week season at the Duchess Theatre on 7 February 2005 (previews from 1 February).

Set in the 1930s, Man and Boy finds Suchet playing Gregor Antonescu, a powerful financier who visits his estranged son, Basil, at his Greenwich Village apartment in an attempt to extricate himself from the most catastrophic disaster of his career. After newspaper headlines report that the FBI are looking for Gregor, one by one, his wife and associates desert him. Only his son refuses to leave.

The West transfer comes after a tragic start to the production, which was first seen at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford ahead of a two-month tour. During rehearsals, Suchet’s original co-star - 32-year-old Fritha Goodey, who played his wife in this first major revival of Terence Rattigan’s 1963 play – committed suicide (See News, 9 Sep 2004). She was replaced on tour by Emma Ferguson (See News, 15 Sep 2004). In the West End, the part of Countess Florence Antonescu will be played by Helen Grace.

The other members of the original company – David Yelland, Ben Silverstone, Colin Stinton, Jennifer Lee Jellicorse and Will Huggins – will reprise their roles. The production is directed by actress-turned-director Maria Aitken and designed by Simon Higlett.

David Suchet is well known to TV fans for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot. His film credits include A Perfect Murder and Executive Decision. Suchet’s last major UK stage role was playing Salieri in Peter Hall’s revival of Amadeus, which ran at the West End’s Old Vic before transferring to Broadway. His other stage credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Oleanna.

Currently at the Duchess Theatre, Novel Theatre’s stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is now confirmed to close on 15 January 2005, at the end of its current booking. The Yvonne Arnaud’s production of Man and Boy is presented in the West End by Thelma Holt, Bill Kenwright, Nica Burns and Michael Whitehall.

- by Terri Paddock