Charlotte Jones' multi award-winning Humble Boy has posted early closing notices at the West End's Gielgud Theatre. The play, which transferred from the National Theatre, opened at the Gielgud on 5 February 2002 (previews from 24 January) and had been booking to the end of November, following a recast in June. It will now finish during August 2002 with the exact date to be announced.

Humble Boy premiered last August at the NT Cottesloe, where it starred Simon Russell Beale and Diana Rigg and had an extended sell-out run. On the day the play opened in the West End, with Felicity Kendal replacing Rigg, it won both the Critics' Circle and the Theatregoers' Choice Awards for Best New Play.

In the current cast, which started performances on 9 June, Maria Aitken plays Flora Humble, the widowed mother of Adrian Scarborough's Cambridge astrophysicist, Felix Humble, in the comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of bee-keeping, which is based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet. They're joined by Anna Calder-Marshall, Sophie Duval, William Gaunt and Peter Blythe.

Producer Matthew Byam-Shaw told that the show had been hurt by a lack of London tourists over the summer months but said he had no regrets. "We've had seven very profitable months in the West End and now we want to quit while we're ahead." Plans are already well advanced for a UK tour, a Broadway transfer and possible productions in both Australia and South Africa in 2003.

Humble Boy is directed by John Caird and designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Christopher Shutt.

- by Terri Paddock