In Elling, Simm plays the title character who, with his friend Kjell Bjarne (Adrian Bower), must convince social worker Frank (Keir Charles) that they’re ‘normal’ enough to survive in the real world after being institutionalised for years.
The comedy reunites Simm with playwright Simon Bent – who has written the piece based on Axel Hellstenius and Petter Naess’ adaptation of the cult 2001 Norwegian 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.
Best known for his role as 1970s time-travelling police detective Sam Tyler in BBC One’s Life on Mars, for which he was BAFTA-nominated this year, Simm’s many screen credits include State of Play, Sex Traffic, The Canterbury Tales, White Teeth, Crime and Punishment and Blue/Orange on TV; and 24 Hour Party People, Human Traffic and Wonderland on film.
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For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for the curtain call at Trafalgar Studios and the post-show party at Walker’s on Whitehall. Amongst our TV interviewees are Elling cast members John Simm, Adrian Bower, Keir Charles, Jonathan Cecil and Ingrid Lacey (all reprising their Bush performances), director Paul Miller and other first night guests including TV newsreader Alastair Stewart.
Elling premiered on 27 April 2007 (previews from 25 April) at the Bush, where it ran to 2 June. It’s presented in the West End by Howard Panter for the Ambassador Theatre Group, David Parfitt for Trademark and Finola Dwyer.
- by Terri Paddock