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Martin Shaw in Twelve Angry Men (Photo: Robert Day)

Martin Shaw in Twelve Angry Men (Photo: Robert Day)

Martin Shaw to star in West End premiere of The Best Man

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson First Published 31 January 2018, Last Updated 2 February 2018

Martin Shaw will star as Gore Vidal’s searing political drama The Best Man, which has recently toured the UK, makes its West End premiere this Spring.

Originally written nearly six decades ago, the acclaimed play will receive a long overdue run in the West End this year at the Playhouse Theatre. Shaw will play William Russell, esteemed ex-Secretary of State and US presidential candidate, desperate to win the race against populist newcomer Joseph Cantwell (Lost’s Jeff Fahey).

Running neck and neck, the duo compete for potentially defining endorsements from a respected Ex-President (Jack Shepherd) and a party big-wig (Maureen Lipman). Campaigning soon crosses into the personal, and Russell’s estranged wife Alice (Glynis Barber) and Cantwell’s partner Mabel (Honeysuckle Weeks) become involved in the fracas. How far will both candidates go to become the most powerful man in the world – “The Best Man”?

The Best Man at the Playhouse Theatre


The Best Man will play from Saturday 24 February until Saturday 12 May, with press night on Monday 5 March.

The play never received a West End transfer at the time, as American politics were deemed of no real interest to London audiences. But with the media spotlight on recent political battles across the globe, it’s a pertinent point for the play to explore the sometimes unscrupulous world of politics.

Leading the cast, Shaw is best known to TV audiences for the title roles in Judge John Deed, Inspector George Gently and The Professionals, as well as starring in West End plays such as Twelve Angry Men. The Best Man is produced by Bill Kenwright and directed by Simon Evans (The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui, Donmar).

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