Richard Osman (Photo by Conor O’Leary) and The Thursday Murder Club book cover

Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club set for stage adaptation in 2025 [Updated]

Tom Basden to co-write the stage play, with Steven Spielberg co-producing

Acclaimed author, presenter and producer Richard Osman has announced that he is working on a stage adaptation of his best-selling novel The Thursday Murder Club.

Speaking on the latest episode of his podcast The Rest is Entertainment, co-hosted with Marina Hyde, Osman said that a stage version of his book was being developed as a theatre production, confirming: “We started working on a Thursday murder Club adaptation for the theatre.”

He is writing the adaptation with “a brilliant writer” and actor Tom Basden (Plebs, After Life, Mandy), “so you have people who know what they’re doing, and directors who know what they’re doing. But honestly, I think the key, and Inside No. 9 will do this brilliantly, is understanding you have a live audience and there’s an electricity and there’s a crackle”, he said.

The project is “very, very early stages” confirmed Osman. “Me and Tom are just sitting down and thinking about it and talking about it at the moment, more on that kind of next year, I suspect.”

Playful Productions (MJ The Musical, Dr Straneglove, The Artist, Moulin Rouge!) are set to produce the show, and have confirmed that it will be produced in the UK in 2025.

Matthew Byam Shaw from Playful Productions said in a statement: “Richard’s brilliantly crafted and ingenious books have delighted so many people. I am certain he will find unexpected and entrancing ways to introduce the characters to a theatrical audience. It makes perfect sense to bring Tom Basden into the mix after Playful worked with him on his exceptional adaptation of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of Anarchist.”

Osman and Hyde referenced the new stage adaptation of Inside No. 9 as as an example of adapting stories for the stage. A new stage show of the hit BBC comedy, to be called Inside No. 9 Stage/Fright, is coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre later this year starring the TV show’s writers and stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

“In general, the idea that, if we’re talking about the boys from Inside No. 9, the insane amount of work they put into that program and the insane amount of imagination they put into that program, the difficulty of filming; the idea that they could put together a stage show, which could then run for the next 10 years and delight people everywhere and bring them, you know, money as well for the next 10 years, I think is great. But just the idea of entertaining a live audience for a writer, I think, is very, very exciting”, said Osman.

Richard Osman is also working with Steven Spielberg and his Amblin Partners company on a movie version of Thursday Murder Club, which will star Helen Mirren, Pierce Brosnan, Celia Imrie and Ben Kingsley.

Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Mrs Doubtfire) is set to write and direct.

Osman spoke about how signing the film contract with Amblin has meant that Steven Spielberg will also be a co-producer of the stage adaptation of the show.

There’s no news on dates, venue or casting for the show, but check back for details or sign-up for The Thursday Murder Club alerts.

More extracts from Richard Osman talking about The Thursday Murder Club: The Play in ‘The Rest is Entertainment’ podcast

“As soon as you go into another medium, if you do Thursday Murder Club as a book, okay, I understand what it is to be a reader or, you know, you’ll listen to an audiobook. I understand the intimacy of that. I understand that you can go back and re-check things. I understand that you can put it down and pick it up again the next day.

“You understand how somebody reads in the same way that if you’re making a quiz show on TV, you understand that people are sitting at home with their family. They’re not always concentrating the whole time, but if they are, they want to interact. They want to talk to their family about what they’re seeing. They want to answer questions. So you understand exactly why and how somebody is consuming what it is that you’re doing.

“And in the theatre, again, it’s that idea of, you have to get inside the feeling of somebody who’s come down to London or to a regional theatre on the train, who’s had a bit of dinner beforehand, who’s now sitting and there’s going, oh, someone a bit taller than them in front of them, but just that excitement.

“The second you understand that, you start thinking about your raw material, if it’s Inside No. 9 or if it’s Thursday Murder Club, you start thinking about it in those terms, it’s how do people want to see that, what’s the first image they need to see, what feeling do they want?

“And, for most creators I think, most writers, that is not something that frightens them, that’s something that excites them. You know, that’s incredibly… I’ll just talk about Thursday Murder Club because I can think about it from my own experience, I know what the material is. I know who the characters… the adaptation has to go through the lens of being in the theatre. Lots of smaller things, you know, it has to be an hour first half, there has to be an interval because that’s how theatres pay for things, and then there has to be a slightly shorter second half, but you know, that’s not a million miles different to a movie. It’s very different to a book, but I think by and large, when you adapt things and change them into a different medium, the technical thing is interesting, but there’s a million, great theatre producers.”

Listen to the podcast episode here

UPDATES: First published 23 May 2024; Updated 4 June 2024 confirming the producer for the show

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📷 Main photo: Richard Osman (Photo by Conor O’Leary) and The Thursday Murder Club book cover

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