Comedian and entertainer Julian Clary is to lead the world premiere of black comedy Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios this autumn, a play penned specially for him by the late playwright Stephen Clark.
The four-time Olivier Award-nominated Clark (Martin Guerre, Zorro, Love Story, Stripped) sadly passed away at the age of 55 last October, having written the show for Clary. Directed by Christopher Renshaw, it will now première at Trafalgar Studios from Wednesday 20 September – Saturday 28 October, with press night on Monday 25 September.
Set in a chic and stylish Notting Hill kitchen, Le Grand Mort centres on Michael, who is preparing dinner for two – and, in doing so, begins to ponder with knife-like wit how the human body has historically continued to prove useful even after death.
And when Tim, his young guest arrives, they engage in a series of funny, thrilling but searingly dangerous mind games, as they try to unravel the reasons why they are both there.
Clary has previously appeared on numerous popular TV shows including Strictly Come Dancing, QI, and Have I Got News For You, and has trodden the boards in West End productions of Taboo, the Olivier Award-winning Cabaret and Cinderella at the London Palladium. He said of Le Grand Mort: “In 2010 Stephen Clark took me out to lunch in Camden and told me he’d like to write a play for me. How lovely, how flattering, how unusual!”
“Over the following few years I got the occasional email from Stephen saying ‘I haven’t forgotten the play!’ but I decided he’d probably thought better of it. We were both busy with life, work and in Stephen’s case, some serious health issues. Then, one day in 2013, it arrived. A funny, dark, beautiful play… Le Grand Mort will take me so far out of my comfort zone I may never return.”
Renshaw added: “It is so very sad for me that Stephen will not not be here for the first production of Le Grand Mort, but I know he will be watching from somewhere, sipping a glass of good red wine, absorbing and encouraging every moment of rehearsal, as he always did.”
Further casting is to be announced.
Tickets for the show can be purchased through the ATG Tickets website.