Matthew Warchus’ starry revival of David Hirson’s Moliere-inspired 1991 comedy La Bete opens tonight at the West End's Comedy Theatre (7 July 2010, previews from 26 June).

Starring Joanna Lumley, David Hyde Pierce and West End man-of-the-moment Mark Rylance, it continues for a limited season to 4 September 2010 prior to an immediate Broadway transfer.

The play is billed as “a comic tour de force” about Elomire (Pierce), a high-minded classical dramatist who loves only the theatre, and Valere (Rylance), a low-brow street clown who loves only himself. When the fickle princess (Lumley) decides she’s grown weary of Elomire’s royal theatre troupe, he and Valere are left fighting for survival as art squares off with ego in a literary showdown for the ages.