Prick Up Your Ears, a darkly comic play inspired by playwright Orton's diaries and the John Lahr biography of the same name (also the inspiration for Stephen Frears' 1987 film, scripted by Alan Bennett), examines the relationship between the two writers which ended tragically in 1967 when Kenneth Halliwell (Lucas) bludgeoned Orton (New) to death before committing suicide.
The play imagines what really happened when, after years of creative collaboration, the door slammed shut and Kenneth Halliwell was home alone. It tells the story behind the domestic life of Joe Orton and Halliwell, holed up in a tiny flat in Islington, trading well-trodden insults and hilarious put-downs like any old married couple.
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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.
For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was at the Comedy Theatre for the curtain call, and at the Cafe de Paris for the after party, where guests included: Neil Pearson, Graham Norton, Maria McErlane, David Walliams (and his mum Kathleen Williams), Dudley Sutton, Mika, Ian McKellen, Polly Stenham, Harry Treadaway, Simon Callow, Leonie Orton, Marilyn Lock and Martin Sherman.
Matt Lucas, best known for his work with comedy partner David Walliams on BBC sketch show Little Britain, last appeared on the West End stage when he took over the role of Leigh Bowery in the original production of Boy George's Taboo in 2002.
Prick Up Your Ears, which arrives in the West End following a regional tour, is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions and Lee Menzies, and is currently booking at the Comedy until 6 December 2009.