Stephen Merchant makes his West End debut | 'Doing proper acting' in The Mentalist

Stephen Merchant makes his West End debut

'Doing proper acting' in The Mentalist

Stephen Merchant is to make his West End stage debut this summer.

He will star in a new production of Richard Bean’s The Mentalists, which runs at the Wyndham’s Theatre from July 3 to September 26.

The play is a comic two-hander set in a Finsbury Park hotel room when two friends ‘are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship’.

At its debut in 2002, critic Michael Billington described the comedy as an ‘original and beguiling piece about obsession and the peculiar demands of male friendship’.

Merchant will appear opposite Steffan Rhodri, best known for playing Dave Coaches in Gavin & Stacey. He was last seen in the West End in Alan Ayckborn’s Absent Friends in 2012.

Since writing The Mentalists, Bean went on to create the monster hit One Man, Two Guvnors, as well as writing the book for the stage adaptation of Made In Dagenham.

Merchant said: ‘I’m going to be in a West End play. A hilarious, darkly poignant Richard Bean play no less. Come and see me and Steffan Rhodri doing proper acting in The Mentalists this summer.’

Bean added: ‘The central concerns of the play are even more relevant in an election year than when I wrote it.  

‘Factors like the perceived decline of social values and how this can result in the rise of fringe parties and a very personal view of politics fascinate me; but the real humour of the piece comes from Ted and Morrie's friendship, their reliance on each other and how they deal with their frustrations as working men battling against the world.’

Tickets for The Mentalist, directed by Abbey Wright, go on sale on Friday.

Published: 25 Feb 2015

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