Real-life brothers Joe, Stephen and Mark McGann will appear on stage together this autuman - fittingly, playing brothers - in Ray Cooney's new farce, Tom, Dick and Harry, which opens on 23 August 2005 (previews from 10 August) at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 12 November (See News, 14 Jun 2005).

The four-strong McGann clan of actor-brothers, which also includes Paul McGann (all pictured together), have previously recorded an album together and appeared on the West End stage in the 1983 musical revue Yakety Yak. In 1995, they acted together in the TV drama The Hanging Gale, which was written by Stephen McGann,

Individually, they’ve also racked up myriad credits, including: for Joe, One Fine Day and Of Mice and Men in the West End, and The Upper Hand on television; for Stephen, Art in the West End and TV’s Emmerdale; and for Mark, Corpse!, Up on the Roof, Blood Brothers and Lennon (Olivier-nominated) on stage, and Shackleton and The Grand on screen.

In Tom, Dick and Harry, Tom Kerwood (Joe McGann) and his wife are trying to adopt a baby. But their attempts to impress the busy-body social worker are jeopardised by Tom’s useless brothers, Dick (Stephen) and Harry (Mark), whose zany antics involve illegal immigrants, the Russian mafia and the local police, not to mention a dead body.

The McGann brothers are joined in the cast by Louise Jameson, Hannah Waterman and Mark Wingett. Cooney – who has written the comedy with his screenwriter son Michael (Identity, Murder in Mind) – also directs. The production is designed by Douglas Heap with lighting by Douglas Kurt. The production marks Cooney’s 23rd comedy in the West End. His previous hits have included Run for Your Wife!, Out of Order, Funny Money, Caught in the Net and It Runs in the Family as well as early collaborations with Brian Rix at the Whitehall Theatre.

Tom, Dick and Harry was previously earmarked for a March 2005 opening featuring comedian Joe Pasquale, who appeared in the play’s original run at the Theatre Royal Windsor in October 2003. However, Pasquale pulled out after winning ITV’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here in November. While its run at the Duke of York’s will mark its official West End premiere, the new comedy has previously been seen in London’s theatreland. In August 2003, ahead of its season at Windsor, Cooney held a special one-off rehearsed reading at the West End’s Playhouse, which was attended by 100 theatregoers who provided post-performance feedback for the show’s development.

Currently at the Duke of York’s, Richard Eyre’s Eve Best-led production of Hedda Gabler, which transferred from the Almeida Theatre last month (See News, 8 Apr 2005), is scheduled to finish its limited season on 6 August 2005.

- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock