British actor Dominic West, star of HBO’s The Wire, is to return to the London stage this summer in a new production of Simon Gray’s 1970 play Butley.
West, who is about to star in new BBC drama The Hour penned by Abi Morgan, will take on the role of Butley, an alcoholic academic in the throes of a mid-life crisis. The role was originally played by Alan Bates, and starred Nathan Lane on Broadway in 2003.
Harold Pinter, who directed Bates in the first West End production in 1971, called the character of Butley “a remarkable creation” and said in his introduction to the Faber collection of Simon Gray’s plays that he “found its savage, lacerating wit hard to beat… The extraordinary thing about Butley, it still seems to me, is that the play gives us a character who hurls himself towards the destruction while living, in the fever of his intellectual hell, with a vitality and brilliance known to few of us.”
The play will be directed by Lindsay Posner and run at the Duchess Theatre from 1 June 2011. West will star alongside Paul McGann.
Chichester Festival Theatre’s musical production of Love Story is currently playing at the Duchess, with Tim Firth’s Sign of the Times following from 7 March starring Matthew Kelly and Gerard Kearns.