Sleuth kicks off a four month, 17-stop tour in Guildford, Surrey from 18 January 1999. The original 1970 production was a success on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1972, it was made into a major film starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. The new stage production will star Peter Bowles and Mark McGann.
Sleuth involves a crime writer, played by Bowles, who becomes wrapped up in a real cat and mouse game with his handsome new neighbour, played by McGann. The two act out their ingenious detective plots on one another as fiction blurs with reality.
Bowles has just finished runs in both Major Barbara and The Misanthrope as part of Peter Hall's repertory at the Piccadilly Theatre. Other recent theatre credits include The School for Wives (Comedy), Separate Tables (Piccadilly), Present Laughter (Aldwych) and Gangster No 1 (Almeida). Mark McGann, brother to fellow actor Paul McGann, has appeared in Maddie (Salisbury Playhouse), On the Ledge (RNT), Killers (Royal Court), The Hunting of the Snark (Prince Edward), Blood Brothers (national tour) and Lennon (Astoria).
Peter Wilson directs Sleuth, with design and lighting by Andrew Leigh. The tour is managed by Wilson's PW Productions, also responsible for the revival of Amadeus which opens next Wednesday 21 October at the Old Vic. The revivals of both Amadeus and Black Comedy started off on regional tours before landing in the West End.
Peter and Anthony Shaffer collaborated on several detective novels in the 1950s before branching out and establishing separate reputations as playwrights. Peter Shaffer's new play, concerning the Tchaikovsky brothers, is also likely to be staged in London some time next year.
Sleuth will visit Guildford, Norwich, Manchester, Brighton, Bath, Bradford, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Aberdeen and Richmond. Additional engagements are still to be confirmed.