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The Mentalists

Published 14 July 2015

What’s it all about?

Before you ask, no, Simon Baker hasn’t cloned himself to create a duo of crime-solving psychics. That would be a different version of The Mentalists.

The plurality, in this case, refers not only to a different storyline – this is the 2002 Richard Bean play about two men, a hotel room and a not altogether flawless plan – but Ted and Morrie, the pair of oddballs at the centre of Abbey Wright’s funny, but ultimately dark, comedy revival.

Who’s in it?

In his stage debut, Stephen Merchant is hilarious as the sandwich-hurling, door-kicking, phone-watching, note-scrunching, credit card-wielding, secret-hiding – yes, he has some issues – Ted. On a mission to recruit supporters for his idea to create a utopian community, the eccentric cleaning company manager is a perfect fit for the famously gawky actor, who endows the character with a twitchy restlessness and touching vulnerability.

His co-star Rhoddri, who like Merchant is best known for his comic roles on screen, most notably in Gavin And Stacey, makes for an equally amusing Morrie. As Ted’s loyal hairdressing companion who has a slightly dubious side business as a cameraman, his bond with Merchant’s Ted is both humorous and heart-warmingly genuine.

What should I look out for?

Morrie’s hilarious descriptions, from referring to his non-existent father as “The only British boxer to have boxed at every weight” to defining insanity as “You’ve got on the District Line, fallen asleep, and woken up at Barking.”

Who was in the press night crowd?

For Stephen Merchant’s first theatrical foray who else would you find at the Wyndham’s Theatre but the Who’s Who of TV comedians? We’re talking enough funny men – Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Keith Lemon, Dara Ó Briain… – to film seven series of Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Would I Lie To You? EACH. Plus an A-lister or two. We queued for the loo with Kate Beckinsale. Casual.

In a nutshell?

Stephen Merchant proves his comic chops on stage as he has done on screen in this amusing revival of Richard Bean’s 2002 comedy.

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Will I like it?

If you’re a Merchant fan, you’ll delight in seeing the Extras actor on the London stage for the first time. Bean lovers (that’s the playwright, not the legume), you’ll relish the return of the One Man, Two Guvnors creator’s comic ingenuity. And anyone wanting a good laugh, you’ll no doubt leave having emitted more than a few audible chuckles.

The Mentalists is playing at the Wyndham’s Theatre until 26 September. You can book tickets through us or, if you fancy taking the kids in August, you can get a free child’s ticket for every full priced ticket purchased through our annual ticket promotion Kids Week. The show is recommended for ages 15 and older.


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