Theatre News

You Game will come to RADA as gender-swapped version of Shaffer's classic

Anthony Shaffer’s 1970 play ”Sleuth” will be adapted this winter

Alice McCarthy and Ivan Murphy
Alice McCarthy and Ivan Murphy
© Peter Breen

A new adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning Sleuth will gender swap one of the leading roles at RADA's Studio Theatre.

Sam Ra and Ivan Murphy have received permission from the Shaffer Estate to alter the male role of Milo Tindle to Bella Lanson. The newly titled production You Game will follow a similar storyline – a successful screenwriter lures his wife's lover (originally Tindle and now Lansom) to the house and convinces her to stage a robbery.

Sleuth originally ran in the UK and then on Broadway in 1970. It has since been adapted into films in 1972 – starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances – and in 2007, with Caine taking on Olivier's original role and Jude Law playing opposite.

Alice McCarthy (Rotterdam, Downton Abbey) will join the cast as the gender-swapped character of Lanson, with Murphy taking on the role of screenwriter Jack Guest. Written by Ra, Matthew Bosley directs with set design by Louis Carver and lighting by Lucía Sánchez Roldán.

Ra said: "We loved the wordplay and action of the original and the great history and provenance. Anthony Shaffer was an extraordinary writer and we are grateful to have the opportunity to adapt this play and reboot it for a modern audience while retaining its legendary intrigue and suspense. I think one of the major differences with changing one of the leads to a woman is that Bella is empowered to challenge the misogyny of Jack throughout You Game. It is impossible for a discussion of sex and money between a man and a woman not to be read as political in 2019."

Shaffer was an English playwright, screenwriter and novelist. His other major works include screenplays for the Hitchcock thriller Frenzy, the British cult horror The Wicker Man and Agatha Christie mysteries Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun. He was the identical twin brother of writer and dramatist Peter Shaffer, best known for his works Equus and Amadeus.

You Game will play from from 26 November to 14 December.