Death In Paradise star Ben Miller will lead a starry cast, including Olivier Award winner Nancy Carroll and X Factor semi-finalist Diana Vickers, in expenses scandal comedy The Duck House when it plays at the Vaudeville theatre this Christmas.
The tale of a Labour backbencher, who is on the precipice of making the leap across to the Conservatives to save his seat when the 2009 expenses scandal hits, is written by two of satirical television’s most prolific writers, Dan Patterson and Colin Swash, and also stars Debbie Chazen, James Musgrave and Simon Shepherd.
Miller, who is best known for TV roles including Primeval, The Worst Week Of My Life and The Armstrong And Miller Show, plays the unlucky backbencher Robert Houston in his first return to the London stage since leading the original cast of The Ladykillers in 2011.
Speaking about the production the multi-talented actor, who has also written a book about science, said: “They say that comedy equals tragedy plus time, and traumatic as the expense scandal was hopefully we can all now have a bloody good laugh about it. And if any MPs don’t like it they can always claim for it on expenses.”
Carroll, who won her Olivier Award for the National Theatre production of After The Dance and has more recently appeared in the Donmar Warehouse production of The Recruiting Officer, plays Houston’s wife Felicity, with Vickers, who followed her X Factor appearance by taking the leading role in the West End production of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, as the girlfriend of the Houston’s son Seb.
Musgrave, whose stage credits include the Royal Court productions of Jumpy and Wanderlust, plays Seb, with fellow Royal Court regular Chazen (In Basildon, The Girlfriend Experience) as housekeeper Ludmilla and Simon Shepherd (Posh at the Royal Court, The Secret Rapture in the West End) as Tory MP Sir Norman Cavendish.
Patterson, who has worked as series producer for shows including Whose Line Is It Anyway and Mock The Week, and Swash, who has contributed to more than 40 series of Have I Got News For You, added: “It is a real treat to hear such a brilliant cast performing the lines. Between the two of us we have written topical jokes for TV for over 50 years, but there aren’t usually enough on one subject to make a play. MP’s expenses were – as the MP’s also found – the gift that keeps on giving.”
The Duck House joins a packed winter line-up for the Vaudeville theatre, which will also plays host to Olivier Award nominated family production Potted Panto and the Edinburgh Festival hit inspired by Morecambe and Wise, Eric And Little Ern during the festive period. The trio of productions follow the second successful West End run of Ealing comedy adaptation The Ladykillers.
"Traumatic as the expense scandal was hopefully we can all now have a bloody good laugh about it."