The West End revival of Simon Gray's 1971 play Butley opened at the Duchess Theatre last night (6 June 2011, previews from 31 May 2011) bringing the rapier-tongued English tutor, famously played by Alan Bates, back to the London stage.

The Wire star Dominic West takes the title role in Lindsay Posner's production, which also stars Amanda Drew, Martin Hutson Penny Downie, Paul McGann, Cai Brigden and Emma Hiddleston.

In an after-party held at One Aldwych, the cast were joined to celebrate their opening night by guests including Felicity Kendal, Victoria Rothschild, Simon Curtis, Kate Fahy, Esther Freud, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Mathias, Paul Mathias, Martin Sherman, Zoe Wanamaker, Gawn Grainger, Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF BUTLEY’s 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.


Butley, written by Gray in 1971, centres on an apparently self-destructive English lecturer trying to cope with the strains of divorce and disenchantment with his working life. West takes the lead in what is described in marketing material as a "razor sharp and darkly comic assault on the soft underbelly of academia".

Butley premiered in 1971 with Alan Bates in the title role, directed by Harold Pinter. Pinter later directed Bates in a film adaptation of the piece which was released in 1974.

Dominic West will be well known to fans of HBO's The Wire having played Detective Jimmy McNulty for five seasons from 2002 to 2008. His other screen credits include The Devil’s Whore, Centurion and 300.

On stage, his credits include Peter Hall's production of The Seagull at the Old Vic, As You Like It at Wyndham's Theatre, The Voysey Inheritance for the National Theatre, Tom Stoppard's Rock ‘n’ Roll and, last summer, Life Is A Dream at the Donmar Warehouse. He will be reunited with Wire co-star Clarke Peters in Sheffield theatre's upcoming production of Othello, part of the theatre's 40th anniversary season.

- Matt Hannigan