UPDATED: This story has now been updated with full casting information.

Hollywood actor Matthew Lillard (pictured) will star in the European premiere of Off-Broadway black comedy Fuddy Meers, which, as previously tipped, will transfer to the West End after its initial run next month at Birmingham Rep. The production – the first out of Sam Mendes’ post-Donmar Scamp production company (See News, 13 Feb 2004)– will open for a limited season at London’s Arts Theatre on 25 May 2004 (previews from 12 May).

Fuddy Meers was first seen in 1999 at New York´s Manhattan Theatre Club and was originally due to receive its European premiere at the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe, a season which was scrapped in favour of a direct West End staging. However, first finances and then scheduling conflicts for its star Jane Krakowski (of Ally McBeal fame) derailed the production (See News, 2 Aug 2002).

Now resurrected under the direction of Angus Jackson (Elmina’s Kitchen), award-winning Broadway actress Katie Finneran (Noises Off) will star with Lillard, Nicholas Le Prevost (Much Ado About Nothing, My Fair Lady, Charlotte Randle (Lobby Hero), Tim Hopper, John Gallagher Jr and, as already announced, Julia McKenzie.

Claire (Finneran), a woman who suffers from a strange form of amnesia, wakes up every morning with no memory, yet retains her sunny disposition. She´s eager to unearth who she really is, and on this particular morning, she´s in for the most jam-packed day of discovery imaginable, meeting a series of bizarre characters along the way. A husband she does not know, a lisping, limping disfigured man who claims to be her brother, her stroke-impaired mother, a cop who may or may not be a cop and a convict on the run who can only express himself through a foul-mouthed sock puppet.

Lillard is best known for his films including Scooby Do, Scream, She's All That, Wing Commander, Dead Man's Curve and Serial Mom. In 2000, he made his UK stage debut in the Almeida’s production of Neil Labute’s Bash.

Fuddy Meers is designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Neil Austin and music and sound by Alex Gallafent. It’s co-produced by Scamp with Fiery Angel and Birmingham Rep, where it runs from 16 April to 8 May 2004 (See News, 4 Mar 2004).

- by Terri Paddock