Friends star Matthew Perry (pictured) and fellow screen actor Hank Azaria (who's previously guested on the hugely popular American sitcom) will join Minnie Driver making their West End debuts in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago (See News, 7 Feb 2003). The revival opens for a limited season at the Comedy Theatre on 14 May 2003 (previews from 3 May).

Written in 1974, Sexual Perversity in Chicago is a one-act drama about four young people looking for love. Danny (played by Perry) and his friend Bernie (Azaria) are two 'regular' guys in pursuit of women. Deborah and her roommate Joan (Driver) are two normal girls, trying to pursue men without actively appearing to do so. When Danny and Deborah begin an affair, the other two watch cynically from the sidelines, exerting subtle but hostile pressure.

Perry is internationally famous for his Emmy-nominated role as Chandler Bing in the long-running and ever-popular Friends, now in its ninth season. His film credits include A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, She's Out of Control, Parallel Lives, Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, Serving Sara and The Whole Nine Yards, the last of which he’s now making a sequel with Bruce Willis. Sexual Perversity in Chicago will mark Perry’s stage debut.

Azaria gained cult status providing voices for the cartoon series, The Simpsons. His films include The Birdcage, Mystery, Alaska, Cradle Will Rock, Godzilla, Grosse Pointe Blank, Quiz Show, Celebrity, Pretty Woman and the upcoming Shattered Glass. A native New Yorker, Azaria’s frequent stage appearances include Conspicuous Consumption, for which he won a Dramalogue Award. Casting for the part of Deborah has not yet been confirmed.

Mamet's plays include Glengarry Glen Ross (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize), Oleanna, American Buffalo, Boston Marriage and Speed the Plow, all of which have had major London productions. He's also well known for his films, such as The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Untouchables, Hoffa and Wag the Dog, as well as several adaptations of his plays. Sexual Perversity in Chicago was last seen in London in 1977; in 2001, it was revived at the Sheffield Crucible, starring Charlotte Randle and Alan Westaway, in a double bill with another Mamet play, The Shawl.

The new London production will be directed by Lindsay Posner, who will also be undertaking a production of Nick Dear's new play Power, starring Robert Lindsay and Rupert Penry-Jones at the NT Cottesloe this summer (See News, 23 Jan 2003). The Mamet play is produced by Mark Rubinstein, Sonia Friedman and Old Vic Productions.

At the Comedy Theatre, Roger Allam and winner Gillian Anderson finished their run in What the Night Is For this past weekend. It's followed this week by the transfer of the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Tom Courtenay's one-man tribute to Philip Larkin, Pretending to Be Me, which has a limited eight-week season from 12 February to 12 April 2003.

- by Terri Paddock