American comedian Steve Martin's award-winning Picasso at the Lapin Agile receives its European premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds next week, 15 September 1998, with previews from today, 10 September. The play, which runs until 10 October, is directed by Randall Arney, its original American director.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is set in 1904 in a bohemian Paris bistro, the Lapin Agile (loosely translated as the 'nimble rabbit'). The comedy chronicles a hypothetical meeting between the 23-year-old Pablo Picasso and 25-year-old Albert Einstein months before they each create individual masterpieces, Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' and Einstein's 'Special Theory of Relativity'. A battle of wits centred on painting, probability, lust and the future of the world ensues.

In 1996, Picasso at the Lapin Agile won the New York Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Play and won Martin the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Playwright.

Steve Martin, also an award-winning actor and comedian, has written the screenplays for several films in which he starred, including LA Story and Roxanne. He co-authored the films The Jerk, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Man with Two Brains and Three Amigos. His other plays include WASP, Patter for the Floating Lady and The Zig-Zag Woman.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is directed by Randall Arney who directed the play's world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago as well as subsequent productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo and off-Broadway. As the artistic director of the Steppenwolf Company, Arney's Broadway transfer productions have included The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Song of Jacob Zulu and The Grapes of Wrath which won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play.

The cast of Picasso at the Lapin Agile features Ben Walden as Picasso and Brian Shelley as Einstein. Walden's recent stage credits include the Almeida revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, which starred Kevin Spacey and transferred to the West End, and Sam Mendes' production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. Shelley, the former lead singer of 'Harvey and the Wallbangers', has appeared in The Merchant of Venice at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Schippel the Plumber at Watford's Palace Theatre and The Madness of King George at the National Theatre.

Set design is by Scott Bradley and Norman Coates, lighting by Kevin Rigden and Jon Linstrum and sound by Richard Woodbury and Mic Pool.