Stephen Fry will return to the theatrical stage for the first time since his brief appearance in the 1995 production of Cell Mates with a one-night performance of Patrick Barlow's Star Child at the Almeida Theatre on 5 December 2010.

He will be joined in the cast by a host of West End stars including Henry Goodman, Stephen Mangan, the Marquez Brothers, Natascha McElhone, Bill Paterson, Maggie Steed, Juliet Stevenson, Catherine Tate and Olivia Williams in the one-off performance in aid of The Art Room Charity.

An unconventional nativity, Star Child promises to be a hilarious and heart-rending story woven with beliefs from many cultures. Barlow's story seeks to upend the traditional Christmas tale and retell it as a story relevant for modern times: "Mary doesn't want the baby, the holy star goes awol, there's a talking donkey, an over-excited midwife, three wise women and a shepherd with an angel-obsession."

Fry will play a disgruntled God who wakes in the nick of time to see the earth facing disaster and a Herod who wages war on the world's children.

The writer and broadcaster is certainly no stranger to the stage, having recently staged a series of solo performances where he delivered personal anecdotes and answered questions asked on Twitter. As well as performances in Sydney and Melbourne, Fry appeared for two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in September this year.

Fry was last seen in a stage role in 1995 when he played against Rik Mayall in Cell Mates, written and directed by Simon Gray. He left the Albery (now Noël Coward) Theatre production after three days, something he has since attributed to bipolar disorder. Despite being replaced by understudy Simon Ward the production closed at the end of its second month in the West End. Fry’s work was also seen on stage in the 2007 in a version of Cinderella starring Pauline Collins and Sandi Toksvig which was produced by the Old Vic.


In other gala news, Kevin Spacey, Ian McKellen and Damien Lewis will perform in a one night event, Evening with the Stars at the Almeida on Sunday 28 November in support of children’s charity Friendship Works.

Giving an insight into the childhoods of each performer, the evening will feature personal choices of theatre and poetry from stars including Helen McCrory, Bill Paters, Jonathan Pryce, Richard Stilgoe, Tim Pigott-Smith and Eileen Atkins.


The lineup for the 82nd Royal Variety Performance, this year held at the London Palladium on 9 December 2010, has been announced with comedian Michael McIntyre hosting the event which will be attended by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

As well as performances from the likes of Take That and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, comedians John Bishop and Sarah Millican and Britain's Got Talent winners Spellbound, the evening will see Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope perform at the Palladium just two months before she takes up the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz on 1 March 2011 (previews from 7 February 2011).


This Friday, 20 November 2010, a number of West End casts will join hosts Terry Wogan, Tess Daly and Ferne Cotton to perform on the BBC's Children in Need. Musicals involved in the annual telethon this year include Jersey Boys, Priscilla - Queen of the Desert and Phantom of the Opera. All of the casts will perform late in evening's televised coverage, allowing actors involved to travel to Television Centre after their Friday night performances in the West End.