Playwright Neil LaBute, whose play Fat Pig opened at the Trafalgar Studio 1 earlier this week, believes having his work staged in the West End is akin to competitive sport.
“It’s like rising up to play against the best tennis players,” he said at the press night party. “I’m very comfortable here and I admire the work that I see here. If I can have my work accepted here I’m very happy.”
In that case, LaBute should be ecstatic, as Fat Pig is the third of his plays to be staged in London in recent months; Bash was staged at the Trafalgar Studio 2 last year, while the Bush presented Helter Skelter/Land Of The Dead earlier in 2008. London’s love affair with the American playwright is also set to continue later this year, when the Almeida presents the European premiere of In A Dark Dark House.
Fat Pig stars the all-British cast of Joanna Page, Robert Webb, Ella Smith and Kris Marshall, who recovered from a much-publicised car accident to take to the stage. It is a cast which has a comedy pedigree; Page stars in Gavin And Stacey, Webb in Peep Show and Marshall came to fame in My Family.
This ability to perform comedy, said LaBute, was essential to the casting: “I knew that my best bet was to get people who were funny and tell the humour of the story and the rest would come. The bad part of it is pretty universal. Everyone can tap into ‘I’ve been broken up with’ or ‘I’ve broken up with somebody’; knowing how to tell a joke is a gift, so I was lucky enough to have people who knew how to do that.”
LaBute celebrated the show’s opening with his daughter, the cast and invited guests at Stanza. Summarising his praise for the talent of the four-strong cast, he simply concluded, “I’m a believer.”