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The Odd Couple

Bailey and Davies to star in Fringe drama

Bill Bailey and Alan Davies are to star as The Odd Couple at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Neil Simon’s classic comedy is to be produced by Guy Masterson, who brought 12 Angry Men to the Assembly Rooms in 2003, featuring a cast of comedians.

He was also director of last year’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, before quitting because he found the clashes with the stars, which included Christian Slater and Frances Barber, left him ‘physically and emotionally unable to continue’.

However, this year he is back in the Assembly Rooms with the comedy, made famous by the 1968 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walther Matthau.

Casting for the show, which is likely to be one of the biggest draws of the Fringe, has been kept under wraps ahead of the festival programme’s launch on June 9. But Chortle can reveal that Bailey and Davies are to play the lead roles.

The supporting cast will include many of the comics who appeared in both 12 Angry Men and Cuckoo’s Nest, including comics Owen O'Neill, Ian Coppinger, Dave Johns, Phil Nichol, Katherine Jakeways and Lizzie Roper.

The show will take place in the Assembly Rooms’ new space, the 790-seater Assembly Hall on The Mound that was the former home of the Scottish Parliament.

The design team is also the same as 12 Angry Men and Cuckoo's Nest.

Masterson confirmed the cast, but added that the show won’t be able to transfer to the West End because of problems over rights, given that a new production is about to open in New York starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, the duo who made The Producers such a smash.

A similar issue has also scuppered his plans to bring the comedians version of 12 Angry Men to the West End, as the production currently playing on Broadway is to transfer to London in autumn next year.

He said of the decision to import the US version instead of reviving the Edinburgh show: “I think it's a very wrong move, but then... I would.”

Meanwhile, details of some other Edinburgh shows have emerged, including:

 

Posted: 11 May 2005

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