Two-time Tony Award nominee Brian O'Byrne, film and stage's Terence Rigby and TV's Michelle Williams star in the New Group's Smelling a Rat, opening May 19 in the Samuel Beckett Theatre. The bedroom comedy by Mike Leigh ("Topsy Turvy") is directed by New Group founding artistic director Scott Elliott (Leigh's Goose-Pimples and Ecstacy).
Billed an "anti-farce," Smelling a Rat takes place in the pre-fab penthouse apartment of a rodent-extermination mogul, Rex Weasel. When the wealthy, but working-class guy arrives home from vacation, he finds various couples, including his non-communicative son Rock, his employee Vic Maggot, whose mouth never stops, Rock's high-strung girlfriend and Vic's giggly wife, going at it in his bedroom. Needless to say, he is not happy about that. The Famous Door Theatre in Chicago staged the American premiere of Smelling a Rat in 1991.
O'Byrne (Vic) was Tony Award nominated for two Martin McDonaugh plays, The Lonesome West and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Rigby (Rex) starred on Broadway in Macbeth and The Homecoming and appeared in the films "Elizabeth" and "Tomorrow Never Dies." A TV vet from "Dawson's Creek," Williams (Melanie-Jane) was featured in Killer Joe Off-Broadway.
Also in the cast are Gillian Foss (Goose-Pimples), replacing the previously announced Cara Seymour as Charmaine, and Eddie Kay Thomas (The Diary of Anne Frank, "American Pie1 & 2") as Rock.
Tickets are $32-$40. The Samuel Beckett Theatre, part of the newly renovated Theatre Row Complex, is located at 410 West 42nd Street. For reservations, call (212) 643-6878. The New Group is on the web at http://www.newgrouptheater.com. — By Christine Ehren