Stephen Merchant to Make West End Stage Debut in Richard Bean's The Mentalists

News   Stephen Merchant to Make West End Stage Debut in Richard Bean's The Mentalists
 
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," is to make his stage debut in a new production of Richard Bean's play The Mentalists. It will begin performances July 3 at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre, prior to an official opening July 13, for a limited run through Sept. 26.

He is joined in this two-hander by Steffan Rhodri, under the direction of Abbey Wright.

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.

In a press statement, he commented, "I’m going to be in a West End play. A hilarious, darkly poignant Richard Bean play no less. Come and see me and Steffan Rhodri doing proper acting in The Mentalists this summer."

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 will be 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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