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Dennis Heads New Art Touring Cast from 12 Sep

By • West End
Comedian and television presenter Les Dennis will return to the stage this autumn to star, alongside Christopher Cazenove and John Duttine, in Yasmina Reza's Art. The hit comedy - which closed in the West End in January 2003, after a run of more than six years - launches a new UK tour in September. The production opens at Harrogate on 12 September 2003 before continuing for two months to nine further venues.

Best known for TV shows such as Family Fortunes and Celebrity Big Brother (as well as his tabloid-troubled marriage to actress Amanda Holden, soon to star in Thoroughly Modern Millie), Dennis' recent stage appearances have included Cherished Disappointments in Love at Soho Theatre and playing the cuckolded Amos Hart in Chicago in the West End. Earlier this year, he took to the road with his new one-man stand-up Les Dennis Live.

Cazenove's many screen credits include Dynasty, Three Men and a Little Lady, A Knight's Tale and Judge John Deed, while amongst his most recent stage appearances are London Suite and, in the West End, An Ideal Husband and Brief Encounter. Duttine's numerous television credits include EastEnders, The Jury, Dalziel and Pascoe and Peak Practice.

Originally running for nearly five years at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre (where it opened in October 1996 before transferring to the Whitehall Theatre in October 2001), the London production of Art - translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus - continued to attract well-known actors for its short stints ever since its original cast of Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Ken Stott.

Subsequent companies featured Henry Goodman, David Haig, Anton Lesser, Tom Mannion and Art Malik, Nigel Havers, Richard Griffiths, Simon Shepher and Philip Franks as well as comedians Frank Skinner and Jack Dee, while imported American casts brought the likes of Patrick Duffy, Richard Thomas, Judd Hirsch, George Wendt and Stacy Keach to London. The West End run concluded with television comedy trio The League of Gentleman (aka Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith; See News, 17 Sep 2002).

Amongst Art's many accolades are the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy as well as, for the New York production, the Tony and New York Critics Awards for Best Play.

The new touring production is directed by Hannah Chissick and designed by Mark Thompson with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and music by Gary Yershon. It's presented by Michael Harrison Productions in association with West End producer David Pugh and Sir Sean Connery, whose wife first saw the French original in Paris and encouraged an English production.

Following Harrogate, Art visits Dartford, Ipswich, High Wycombe, Hull, Cheltenham, Worthing, Poole, Liverpool and Bradford, where it concludes its schedule on 29 November 2003.

- by Terri Paddock


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