Children’s show Horrid Henry – Live and Horrid will fill the West End gap left by the premature closure this past weekend of Andrew Upton’s Australian play Riflemind, directed by Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (See News::E8821224236030}, 17 Oct 2008).

Based on the popular children’s books written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross, and adapted for the stage by John Godber, Horrid Henry will open in Trafalgar Studios 1 for a limited festive season from 21 November 2008 to 11 January 2009.

Since the first was published in 1993, there have been some 17 Horrid Henry books, which have been translated into 25 languages. Francesca Simon received of the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards for Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman and published the latest instalment, Horrid Henry Robs the Bank in June. The series has also spawned a collection of audiobooks and an animated TV series care of Novel Entertainment.

John Godber’s stage version brings the mischievous boy to life along with Mum, Dad, Perfect Peter, Moody Margaret, Rude Ralph and other favourite characters. Horrid Henry opened in Sheffield at the end of August before embarking on a tour, which concludes in Liverpool on 15 November prior to the London transfer.

The Watershed production is directed by Hannah Chissick and designed by Pip Leckenby. The cast currently features Steven McGill, Alex Tregear, Ruth Calkin, Philip Bosworth, Rachael Swift, Clark Devlin, Katy Porrett and Howie McCullough. It’s presented in the West End by Michael Edwards and Carole Winter, in association with Novel Entertainment and Sheffield Theatres.

When the adaptation was first announced earlier this year, book author Francesca Simon commented: \"I\'m absolutely thrilled about Horrid Henry coming to life on stage. I actually screamed with excitement when I found out that John Godber, whose plays (such as Bouncers, Teechers and Up ‘n’ Under) I\'ve always loved, was going to do the adaptation … I know it’s going to be an imaginative and hilarious theatrical experience, and I can’t wait to see it.\"

- by Terri Paddock