London The Mentalists, Starring Stephen Merchant, To Shutter Early

News   London The Mentalists, Starring Stephen Merchant, To Shutter Early Richard Bean's The Mentalists is to shutter early at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre, closing Aug. 29 instead of the originally scheduled Sept. 26. The play opened officially July 13, following previews that began July 3.

The production features BAFTA Award-winning writer, comedian and actor Stephen Merchant, best known for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais, including "The Office," "Extras" and "Life's Too Short," in his stage debut. He is joined in this two-hander by Steffan Rhodri, under the direction of Abbey Wright.

In a press statement, the producers have commented, "It has been a great joy bringing The Mentalists into the West End this summer, however we have had to take the very difficult but prudent decision, based on a challenging post-summer period, to reduce the run to nine weeks. We wish to thank the cast, creative team and crew for all of their dedication, humor and hard work in creating a production which we are immensely proud of."

Merchant and Rhodri, respectively, play Ted and Morrie, who, holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room, are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship. Things unravel as the pressure mounts in this tale of friendship and utopian visions gone awry.

Merchant, who recently starred in Dan Mazer’s British comedy film "I Give It A Year" alongside Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall, also wrote, directed and performed Hello Ladies, an international stand-up comedy tour, which he went on to re-create as a television series for HBO. He has won four BAFTA Awards, four British Comedy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television work.

Rhodri, who is best known for playing Dave Coaches in TV's "Gavin & Stacey" and has appeared more recently in "Cucumber," was last seen in the West End in Laura Wade's Posh and Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, both in 2012. The Mentalists was originally premiered at the National Theatre as part of the 2002 Transformation season of the Lyttelton into two studio spaces. In a press statement, Bean commented, "The central concerns of the play are even more relevant in an election year than when I wrote it. Factors like the perceived decline of social values and how this can result in the rise of fringe parties and a very personal view of politics fascinate me; but the real humour of the piece comes from Ted & Morrie's friendship, their reliance on each other and how they deal with their frustrations as working men battling against the world."

The production is designed by Richard Kent, with lighting by David Plater and casting by Anne Vosser. It is produced by Old Vic Productions, Smith & Brant Theatricals and Steven Harris in association with Jimmy Jewell Ltd.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 5120 or visit www.TheMentalistsThePlay.com.

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