The production proved to be a complete sell-out in its original run at Hampstead Theatre (where it runs to January 2), with all tickets for the entire run sold out within four days of going on sale. The venue operates as a membership club; as such, only members were able to secure tickets for the run, and many of those were destined to be disappointed in their attempt to buy tickets. Nevertheless, scalpers are currently reported to be asking for around $500 a ticket for the sought-after show.
For the West End run of the play, which concerns an art student called Malcolm Scrawdyke who seeks to lead a revolt against authority when he is suspended by his art school, McGregor is joined by the full Hampstead cast, Joe Duttine, Sean Gilder, Lou Gish and Nicolas Tennant, in a production directed by Denis Lawson, the actor-turned-director who also happens to be related to McGregor as his uncle. Lawson has previously been seen in such musicals as Mr Cinders and Lust in the West End (reprising his performance in the latter at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia), and the plays Volpone (Almeida) and Oleanna (Duke of York's), as well as the film Local Hero.
Little Malcolm and his struggle against the Eunuchs was David Halliwell's first stage play. When it was first produced, at the West End's Garrick Theatre in 1966, it became an instant classic, though it failed to find an audience. In 1973, it was made into a feature film. The drama had a brief run on Broadway in late 1966 under the title Hail, Scrawdyke!, in a production directed by Alan Arkin and featuring Austin Pendleton. Halliwell also authored numerous stage and radio plays including KD Dufford, The House and, most recently, Bird for BBC Radio.
The West End run is being presented by Robert Fox, the London and Broadway impresario behind the transfer of the Almeida's production of David Hare's The Judas Kiss to Broadway last season, which featured another movie star, Liam Neeson, making a much anticipated return to the stage.
Another play first seen at Hampstead Theatre in 1996, Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water (following the story of three sisters who are reunited by their mother's death), is also due to open in the West End in January, at the Vaudeville Theatre, where Terry Johnson will direct a cast led by Alison Steadman, Julia Sawalha and Samantha Bond.
Tickets for Little Malcolm: 01144-171 369 1741
By Mark Shenton, Terri Paddock and Robert Simonson