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Bathurst Brings Alex Cartoon Back to Life, 27 Nov

Robert Bathurst (pictured) will reprise his performance this autumn in Alex, the one-man comedy based on the long-running Daily Telegraph comic strip. The multi-media stage adaptation returns for a second London season, running at the newly relaunched Leicester Square Theatre (formerly The Venue) from 27 November to 20 December 2008 (previews from 25 November) at the conclusion of a national and international tour.

Bathurst plays Alex Masterly, the obnoxious corporate financier of the Alex comic strip about life in the City of London. Initially a parody of the yuppie stereotype pervasive when the strip was first published in the Independent in 1987; more than 20 years on, the cartoon continues to be published daily in the Daily Telegraph.

The strip-to-stage adaptation, premiered last October at the now-dark Arts Theatre (See 1st Night Photos, 19 Oct 2007), is written by the cartoon’s creators Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor and directed by Phelim McDermott, co-founder and joint artistic director of Improbable Theatre whose credits include the multi award-winning Shockheaded Peter.

In the 75-minute play, Alex\'s increasingly desperate attempts to juggle his job, his marriage and his social life as crisis hits all three and threatens to ruin him. High-tech projection design allows Alex to interact with characters from the strip and other elements of his cartoon world.

The production is designed by Phil Eddolls with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for Fifty Nine Productions Ltd, animation by Charles Peattie, lighting by Colin Grenfell and sound by Ed Clarke.

In September, Alex visits Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. It reopens in the UK on 21 October 2008 at Eastbourne and then tours to Windsor, Guildford, Northampton and Colchester before transferring to Leicester Square Theatre for its second West End run. Alex is presented in association with Eleanor Lloyd Productions.

The new theatre relaunches tomorrow with the London premiere of Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress. Following success at the Edinburgh Fringe, the American comedienne’s self-penned, autobiographical comedy runs at Leicester Square from 4 to 18 September 2008 (previews from 29 August), and then returns from 2 December to 29 January 2009 prior to a Broadway transfer (See News, 23 May 2008).

During Rivers’ second stay in London, she’ll also be performing hostess duties at the launch party for the 2009 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards at the Café de Paris on Friday 5 December (See News, 26 Jun 2008). And at Leicester Square that month, while overlapping from 2 to 20 December with the newly announced season of Alex, Rivers and her company will perform at the later time of 9.30pm, reverting to the normal 7.30pm evening performances after 23 December.

- by Terri Paddock


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