Richard E. Grant, Anthony Head and David Bamber will headline Simon Curtis’ production, which will open at the Criterion Theatre on Oct. 31 (previews begin Oct. 25) after a five-week regional tour.
Grant is one of Britain’s most recognizable actors, having acquired a large following when he played the hard-drinking title role in the cult movie “Withnail and I.” All together he’s appeared in more than 60 films, including “The Player,” “Gosford Park” and “Bright Young Things.” His stage credits include The Importance of Being Earnest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Anthony Head, while not so famous a name in Britain, is also ultra recognizable thanks to his long-running role as Rupert Giles in TV’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” However, his varied resume includes Chess and The Rocky Horror Show in the West End, and “Manchild” and “Little Britain” on television.
David Bamber has notched up a successful theatre record. Hit stage roles include Antonio in Trevor Nunn’s National Theatre staging of The Merchant of Venice and the lead in the Royal Court’s My Night With Reg.
Otherwise Engaged depicts a sophisticated and selfish publisher (played by Grant, taking a part created by Alan Bates) who seems to have it all until one morning a stream of visitors brings life crashing down around him. Simon Gray was awarded the CBE in the 2005 Queen’s New Years Honours List. His plays include The Common Pursuit, Butley, Japes, Cell Mates and — recently seen in the West End — The Old Masters. Shortly before The Old Masters proved a success, another Gray play, The Holy Terror with Simon Callow in the lead, was a Theatreland short-runner. Last year saw the publication of Gray’s journal, “The Smoking Diaries.”
Simon Higlett will design Otherwise Engaged. Lighting will be by Tim Mitchell, with Mark Rubinstein, Sonia Friedman, Lee Menzies and TEG producing it in the West End. The show will open at Bath’s Theatre Royal on Sept. 21, and proceed to Oxford, Milton Keynes and Woking, and finally London
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