Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat’s new play The Unfriend finally has production dates!
Originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to Covid, The Unfriend will run at Chichester Festival Theatre from 21 May to 9 July 2022.
Directed by The League of Gentleman’s Mark Gatiss, the new play stars Amanda Abbington, Frances Barber and Reece Shearsmith. Other cast include Maddie Holliday and Michael Simkins.
The play centres on Peter (Reece Shearsmith) and Debbie (Amanda Abbington), who after twenty years of marriage are enjoying a cruise as a break from their annoying teenage children. Peter can’t resist exchanging views on Donald Trump with an American fellow passenger, Elsa Jean Krakowski (Frances Barber). There’s something slightly unsettling about the eagerly friendly Elsa, but there’s no point in rocking the boat when you’re about to get off it.
Back home, an email arrives from Elsa, followed by Elsa herself. And when Debbie googles their house guest and turns up some hair-raising evidence, their good nature is challenged as never before. What kind of danger have they allowed to take up residence in their spare room? And can they bring themselves to say anything about it? Sometimes, the truth is just too impolite.
The Unfriend promises to be an entertaining and satirical look at middle-class England’s disastrous instinct always to appear nice. Manners can be murder….
Steven Moffat is an award-winning writer, whose hit television series include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Dracula – the latter two co-written with the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who directs. Mark Gatiss is also a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen alongside Reece Shearsmith, who plays Peter.
Reece Shearsmith was aast seen at Chichester in The Dresser, and his credits also include Hangmen (Royal Court) and TV’s Inside No 9. Amanda Abbington’s credits include TV’s Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, and The Son in the West End. Frances Barber was last seen at Chichester in Uncle Vanya (1996). Her screen credits include The Mezzotint, Silk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.
The Unfriend is designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Ella Wahlström and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.
Steven Moffat posted on Twitter in 2020, “Sorry to those of you who booked, but that’s The Unfriend delayed till next year – we’ll put an extra joke in it to make it worth the wait!”
Chichester has also announced a huge slate of new shows for 2022 as part of their 60th anniversary season including a new production of Crazy For You directed by Susan Stroman, and musicals including The Famous Five: The Musical and Local Hero.