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Kendal Grabs Drag & Fag to Play Gray???

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With La Cage Aux Folles sparkling at the Playhouse, Wig Out! about to drag itself into the Royal Court and Priscilla screeching into town early next year, it seems that gender-swapping is very much en vogue in Theatreland at present. And it’s not all men in frocks – the rumour mill indicates that Felicity Kendal is in frame to portray acclaimed playwright Simon Gray in an upcoming dramatisation of his diaries, entitiled The Last Cigarette.

Gray, who died from cancer earlier this year (See News, 8 Aug 2008), was almost as renowned for his chain-smoking habit as he was for his work, which numbered over 30 plays by the time of his death. This new project, based on a script that was started by Gray in 2007, is directed by Richard Eyre and, according to the Daily Mail, has “three characters, one woman and two men, all called Simon Gray”. The play aims to “give voice to Gray’s memories, anecdotes, recollections and slices of life”, and Eyre is rumoured to be hoping to present it as early as January regionally ahead of a London season.

Felicity Kendal is probably best known for her role as Barbara Good in 1970s sitcom The Good Life, but she has many stage credits to her name including a long association with Tom Stoppard, having starred in the premiere productions of a number of his plays including The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia and Indian Ink. Her more recent credits include Amy’s View and The Vortex, both in the West End.


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