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Ian Dury Tribute Hits West End for Six Weeks, 7 Jan

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Following its run this month at the fringe Courtyard Theatre (See Off-West End), Hit Me! The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury, the new musical celebrating the late punk rocker, will transfer to the West End’s Leicester Square Theatre, where it will run for six weeks from 7 January 2009 (preview 6 January).

In the warts-and-all portrait of the man who put the phrase “sex and drugs and rock and roll” into the national psyche, Jud Charlton (pictured) plays the troubled “poet laureate of punk” who swaggers through classics including “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll”, “Sweet Gene Vincent”, “Plaistow Patricia” and “Spasticus Autistics”, which was banned by the BBC.

Starting in 1980, Hit Me! looks at three periods in Dury’s life: the man at the top of his game, the man who nearly blew it and the man who gave his best to everything. By his side throughout too was his minder, tour manager and loyal friend, ex-con Fred ‘Spider’ Rowe (played by Josh Darcy in the two-hander). The show is written and directed by Jeff Merrifield.

Born in Harrow in 1942, Dury was left disabled after contracting polio at the age of seven. At the peak of his 1970s success Ian Dury, with his band The Blockheads, was at the vanguard of the punk and post punk movements. Part furious iconoclast, part music hall entertainer, Dury was one of the true originals of the English music scene. He died after a battle with liver cancer on 27 March 2000.

Hit Me! The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury is produced by Irving Rappaport and Playback Theatre. The show started performances on 25 November 2008 at the Courtyard Theatre in Old Street, where it continues until 14 December prior to its transfer.

- by Terri Paddock


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