The producers of The Unfriend have found a new West End home for the hit comedy.
They were looking back in March to move the sold-out show from the Criterion Theatre, where it closed in April, to a new West End venue.
The good news is that The Unfriend will now open at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End this Christmas, playing from 16 December 2023 to 9 March 2024.
Written by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock), The Unfriend is directed by Mark Gatiss, and is set to star Lee Mack (Would I Lie To You, Not Going Out) as Peter, Sarah Alexander (Pennyworth, Coupling, Jonathan Creek) as Debbie, and once again Frances Barber (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) as Elsa Jean Krakowski.
The Neighbour will be played by Nick Sampson (Witness for the Prosecution), with further casting to be announced.
The show previously featured Reece Shearsmith as Peter, Amanda Abbington as Debbie, and Michael Simkins as The Neighbour.
The Unfriend started its run on 15 January 2023 at the Criterion Theatre, following a successful premiere at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The comedy scored mainly good reviews for its London run, and broke box office records, holding more than £1 million in advance sales at the Criterion box office.
Lee Mack recently guest starred at the Criterion Theatre, in the venue’s current production of Bleak Expectations.
The show’s producers, Playful Productions, are also currently producing Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of A Little Life starring James Norton, and are general managers of Wicked and Moulin Rouge! in the West End, and forthcoming Broadway transfer of MJ The Musical.
The Unfriend is directed by Mark Gatiss, who is on a London theatre roll at the moment. His production of comedyThe Way Old Friends Do is getting a West End transfer to the Criterion Theatre, starting 17 August 2023; his production of A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story, which he adapted and directed, is heading back to the Alexandra Palace this Christmas; and he is currently starring as as John Gielgud in the new Jack Thorne play The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre, which is heading to the Noel Coward Theatre from 9 December 2023.
Director, Mark Gatiss, said: “You can’t keep a good serial killer down! I’m absolutely delighted that Elsa Jean Krakowski has found a home at the beautiful Wyndham’s theatre and very much look forward to bringing Steven’s hilarious play back to the West End”.
Writer, Steven Moffat said: “It’s a real thrill to welcome a couple of comedy legends on board The Unfriend, for our new run at the Wyndhams Theatre. Lee Mack is one of the funniest men in the country and someone I’ve been wanting to work with for years. And Sarah Alexander is not just brilliant and hilarious, she’s an old friend from our days together on Coupling. Can’t wait to get started all over again.”
The show is produced by Playful Productions, Eric Kuhn, Karl Sydow, Sayers And Sayers Productions, and Sue Vertue for Hartswood Films.