David Mitchell will be making his West End debut this year in a stage adaptation of the critically acclaimed BBC sitcom about William Shakespeare – The Upstart Crow.
The comedy has been specially adapted for the stage by Ben Elton, who wrote the TV show, and will open at the Gielgud Theatre from 7 February 2020.
The sitcom follows the life of William Shakespeare, and is full of Shakespeare puns, easter eggs and anachronisms. Each episode shadows one or more plots of a Shakespeare play, and usually end with Will discussing with his wife whether he should include the mad goings-on in his next play.
Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones and Gentleman Jack) will continue to co-star as Kate, the aspiring actress and Will’s housekeeper.
They are joined by Helen Monks (Raised by Wolves), Rob Rouse (Grownups) and Steve Speirs (Stella) who will transpose their TV performances over to the stage alongside David.
Mark Heap (Friday Night Dinner) will play a new character – Dr John Hall.
The production will be directed by Olivier award-winner Sean Foley (The Ladykillers, Jeeves and Wooster and The Miser), who is currently directing his adaptation of The Man In The White Suit starring Stephen Mangan at Wyndham’s Theatre.
The play is set in 1605 in a moment of crisis for the bard himself. He’s in a bit of a pickle – his last two plays have fallen flat and recently crowned King James is thoroughly unimpressed.
Will must shape up or risk losing his head. He’s desperate to work on a new, better play but the distractions at home are proving difficult, with his squabbling family and strangely, two shipwrecked, cross-dressing identical twins who have arrived separately and unaware of each other knocking on his door.
To add insult to injury, his friend and housekeeper, Kate, has started a crusade against the treatment of animals in showbiz, and has liberated the Globe Theatre’s very best dancing bear.
She’d hoped to keep the bear quietly in the house until she could set her free in the wild, but Mrs Whiskers has other plans.