Rupert Friend will star in the first major London revival of Dennis Potter’s controversial play Brimstone and Treacle, which opens at the Arcola Theatre on 4 May 2012 (previews from 2 May).

Renowned for being banned by the BBC in 1976, Brimstone and Treacle's examination of middle-class suburban paranoia, xenophobia and insularity is, according to press material, “as revealing and relevant today as it was then”.

It was written for television by Potter as part of the Play for Today strand. However, it was withdrawn before transmission, and not broadcast until 1987. In 1977 Potter adapted it for the stage and it premiered at Sheffield Crucible.  

The play centres on Mr and Mrs Bates, a middle-aged, middle-class, North London suburban couple are struggling to care for their only daughter, Pattie, left severely disabled following a hit-and-run car accident. Out of nowhere, an apparently respectable young man arrives on their doorstep to change their lives forever...  

Rupert Friend returns to the stage following his 2010 West End debut in The Little Dog Laughed to play Martin Taylor. His film work includes Five Days of War, Lullaby for Pi, The Kid, Chéri, The Young Victoria, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, Pride and Prejudice and The Libertine.

Amelia Sears directs. Her credits include The Last Five Years (Duchess Theatre) and Pedestrian (Bristol Old Vic, Underbelly and national tour). She was resident staff director at the National Theatre in 2007/2008, has worked extensively alongside Katie Mitchell internationally, and as associate director to Michael Grandage on Twelfth Night (Donmar West End), Iain Glen on Ghosts (Duchess Theatre), and at the Royal Court.

Brimstone and Treacle is being produced by SEArED, the company created by London-based actor Alex Waldmann, who has appeared in productions at the RSC, National and Donmar, among others. Recent projects include co-producing the world premiere of Rose by Hywel John starring Art Malik and his daughter Keira at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Tom Wainwright's Pedestrian, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic. Brimstone and Treacle runs in Arcola Studio 2 until 2 June. Further casting is still to be announced.