The Last Cigarette, written by the Hugh Whitemore in collaboration with Gray shortly before his death last summer, is adapted from Gray's final volume of Smoking Diaries, which give voice to his memoirs and thoughts as he is “forced to look his own mortality in the eye”. Kendal, Le Prevost and Britton all portray the playwright through the course of the play.
The author of more than 30 plays including Quartermaine’s Terms, Otherwise Engaged and Butley, lifelong smoker Gray passed away on 6 August 2008 after a battle with cancer (See News, 8 Aug 2008). The premiere production of The Last Cigarette is directed by former National Theatre artistic director Richard Eyre and designed by Rob Howell, with music by George Fenton. It opened in Chichester on 17 March (previews from 11 March), where it continues to 11 April (See News, 23 Jan 2009).
- by Theo Bosanquet