I’m pleased to continue my run of memorable post-show Q&As in the intimate Trafalgar Studios with the world premiere of this black comedy two-hander, written especially for the inimitable Julian Clary.
In his super stylish, sterilely beautiful Notting Hill kitchen, Michael is preparing dinner for two. As he meticulously cuts the vegetables with almost a surgeon’s precision, he talks, with knife-like wit, about cases in history where the human body has continued to prove useful even after death. As he slices and chops, one wonders who is coming for dinner and what the main course might be.
When Tim, his young guest arrives, they engage in a series of funny, thrilling but searingly dangerous mind games, as they try to unravel the reasons why they are both there. Only when the games turn deadly do they catch a glimpse of the sadness and loss within each of them, that enables them to at least begin to connect with the truth, using whatever damaged shreds of humanity they still have left.
Le Grand Mort was written especially for Julian Clary by four-time Olivier Award-nominated writer Stephen Clark (Martin Guerre, Zorro, Love Story, and the play Stripped, which won him a Stephen Jefferson Award), who died at the age of 55 last October. Clary is joined in the cast by James Nelson-Joyce. The premiere production is directed by Clark’s frequent collaborator Christopher Renshaw.
Julian Clary comments:
“In 2010, Stephen Clark took me out to lunch in Camden and told me he’d like to write a play for me. How lovely, how flattering, how unusual! Over the following few years, I got the occasional email from Stephen saying ‘I haven’t forgotten the play!’, but I decided he’d
probably thought better of it. We were both busy with life, work and in Stephen’s case, some serious health issues. Then, one day in 2013, it arrived. A funny, dark, beautiful play… Le Grand Mort will take me so far out of my comfort zone I may never return.”
Director Christopher Renshaw added: “Through our many collaborations, Stephen Clark and I became very close friends. Someone with whom I shared absolute trust, not only in our work but in our lives. A brave, honest, brilliantly funny man, who faced the many health challenges of his life without a single complaint. An inspiration. It is so very sad for me that Stephen will not be here for the first production of Le Grand Mort, but I know he will be watching from somewhere, sipping a glass of good red wine, absorbing and encouraging every moment of rehearsal, as he always did.”
NB: This production contains: nudity, strong language and verbal sexual content. Age guidance: 16+.
For Le Grand Mort post-show Q&A on Wednesday 27 September 2017, I’ll be joined by the show’s stars and director to discuss the play and writer Stephen Clark’s legacy.