Rehearsals are underway for Best of Enemies by James Graham (This House, Ink), set to begin a West End run at Noël Coward Theatre November 14. Opening night for the drama, which stars Zachary Quinto (The Boys in the Band, Star Trek) in his West End debut, is set for November 28.
Quinto stars as Gore Vidal opposite David Harewood (Peribanez, Homeland), who reprises his role as William F. Buckley Jr. from the show's premiere at the Young Vic Theatre in December 2021. The Young Vic run earned two Olivier nominations.
Set in the tumultuous year of 1968, the play explores the political rivalry between leading conservative voice William F. Buckley Jr and liberal novelist and polemicist Gore Vidal and their televised debates. The two were hired by ABC—in an effort to boost ABC's ratings—to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Those live and unscripted televised debates, which often devolved into personal attacks, captured the attention of viewers and changed the television news industry. Best of Enemies is inspired by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon's documentary on the two political figures.
Joining Quinto and Harewood in the cast are Deborah Alli, Emilio Doorgasingh, Clare Foster, Tom Godwin, John Hodgkinson, Syrus Lowe, Kevin McMonagle, and Sam Otto, all of whom are cast in multiple roles. The ensemble includes David Boyle, Lincoln Conway, Vivienne Ekwulugo, Jamie Hogarth and Saaj Raja.
Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall, Noises Off) directs the production, which features design by Bunny Christie, lighting design by Jack Knowles, sound design by Tom Gibbons, video design by Max Spielbichler, composition by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, and movement direction by Shelley Maxwell. Hazel Holder serves as voice and dialect coach with Annie Kershaw as associate director. Casting is by Charlotte Sutton and Jim Carnahan.
“Best of Enemies harkens back to a vital time - when genuine discourse was possible from even the most opposite ends of the ideological spectrum," said Quinto in a statement. "My hope is that such discourse may be once again rekindled in response to the work itself.”
This production is brought to the West End by Second Half Productions, Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Wessex Grove, the Young Vic Theatre, and Headlong. Wagner Johnson Productions are executive producers.
For tickets and more information, visit NoelCowardTheatre.co.uk.