Robert Bathurst is to embody the cartoon investment banker Alex at the Arts theatre this autumn. The new play, written by the creators of the popular cartoon strip, runs from 11 October-8 December.
Alex has become a City institution since his creators, Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, first began chronicling his life in the Square Mile for the London Daily News in 1987. Since 1992, Alex’s exploits have been appearing every day on the front page of The Daily Telegraph, where he has collected a loyal army of fans in the City. Now Peattie and Taylor have written a new play which brings the obnoxious, devious and manipulative cartoon investment banker to life.
In the play, Alex finds it increasingly difficult to juggle his job, marriage and social life as crisis hits all three and threatens to ruin him. He is in trouble with his long-suffering wife Penny, who has turned the tables on him; the business fortunes of his client, Mr Hardcastle, drastically unravel and Alex is to blame; and the scams which Alex has made his way of life over the years are about to be revealed by a mole in his department. Alex faces abject humiliation unless he can stitch up his rivals first.
Directed by Improbable Theatre’s Phelim McDermott (Shockheaded Peter, Theatre Of Blood, Satyagraha for English National Opera), the play uses digital projection which allows a three-dimensional Bathurst, as Alex, to interact with Peattie’s animations of all the familiar characters from the cartoon – his sidekick Clive, boss Rupert, graduate trainees, bibulous journalists, shady financial PR men and freeloading industrialists. The work of projection designers Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer includes Black Watch for the National Theatre of Scotland and the recent Attempts On Her Life at the National. They also collaborated with McDermott on Satyagraha.
Bathurst was most recently seen in the West End alongside Richard Wilson in political satire Whipping It Up, which ran at the New Ambassadors this year after transferring from the Bush. His previous London credits include Three Sisters at the Playhouse in 2003 and Members Only at Trafalgar Studio 2 last year. He is widely recognised for his long-running role in the popular series Cold Feet, and has also starred on television in My Dad’s The Prime Minister and Coup!
Booking for Alex opens on 23 July.