Actor John Simm will find out on 20 May whether he’s won this year’s Best Actor BAFTA for his hugely popular as time-travelling detective Sam Tyler in the BBC’s recently concluded two season series of Life On Mars. In the meantime, he’s been celebrating his return to the stage, after an absence of 11 years, to play the title role in Elling at the tiny Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London (See News, 7 Mar 2007).

Though it only seats 80, the theatre was filled with many of the great and the good at the opening night on Friday (27 April 2007, previews from 25 April) to cheer on Simm and his co-stars - Adrian Bower (from TV’s Teachers), Keir Charles, Ingrid Lacey and Jonathan Cecil – in the English-language premiere adaptation of the cult Norwegian film comedy.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE ELLING 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

In Elling, Simm’s character and his co-hort Kjell Bjarne (Bower) are the Odd Couple of the dysfunctional world, but they must convince their social worker Frank (Charles) that they’re really ‘normal’. The play reunites Simm with playwright Simon Bent – who has written the piece based on Axel Hellstenius and Petter Naess’ Norwegian adaptation of the 2001 film, which was based on the original novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen – and director Paul Miller. Simm’s last stage appearance was also at the Bush, in Bent’s 1996 play Goldhawk Road, directed by Miller.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand at the Bush for the post-show party along with the cast and creatives as well as the theatre’s new artistic director Josie Rourke. Other first night guests included History Boy Dominic Cooper and Norwegian diplomat Reidun Bugge Otteroy.

- by Terri Paddock