West End Revival of School of Night Canceled

By John Nathan
January 9, 2006

The West End revival of School of Night starring Christopher Eccleston has been canceled.

Peter Whelan’s play was due to start previews at the Comedy Theatre Feb. 16 with an opening night on Feb. 27.

No reason has been given for the cancellation of the production, which was to be directed by Bill Alexander, who helmed the play's premiere in 1992. The West End revival was taking bookings until June 3.

In a statement producers (Mike Merrick, ATG, Mark Rubinstein Limited, Lee Menzies and TEG Productions) expressed the hope that the play would be revived in the future and that in the meantime they are discussing other projects with Eccleston, who was to play the central role of Shakespeare’s contemporary, Christopher Marlowe.

Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The School of Night is mainly concerned with the life and death of Marlowe, whose murder in a Deptford pub brawl could have been the result of his atheism, his espionage, his sexuality or, as one theory has it, an argument over the bill.

Marlowe’s plays include The Jew of Malta, Doctor Faustus, Edward II and Tamburlaine the Great.

Eccleston recently starred in the BBC revival of the high-profile British sci-fi television series “Dr Who.” Eccleston’s stage work includes the title role in Hamlet for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Michael Boyd's production of Miss Julie at the Haymarket Theatre, Abingdon Square and Bent Whelan’s other plays include The Accrington Pals , The Herbal Bed and A Russian in the Woods.

Currently the Comedy is host to the revival of John Osborne and Anthony Creighton’s Epitaph for George Dillon, which is due to finish its four-month run Jan. 14.

No replacement for the show has been announced.