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THE WIRE's Dominic West to Return to the West End in BUTLEY

Dominic West, star of hit US drama The Wire, will take on the iconic title role of the rapier-tongued lecturer in a major new revival of Simon Gray's Butley. The play premiered in 1971 in Harold Pinter's award-winning production starring Alan Bates at London's Criterion Theatre. Forty years on, West takes the lead in this razor sharp and darkly comic assault on the soft underbelly of academia.

The cast will also include Penny Downie, whose recent credits include playing Queen Gertrude alongside David Tennant in Hamlet for the RSC, and the feature film Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood. Paul McGann (Withnail and I, Doctor Who) will play the character of Reg Nuttall.

The production will be directed by Lindsay Posner, whose credits include An Ideal Husband, A View From The Bridge (both West End), Fiddler on the Roof (Sheffield Crucible and West End), Fool for Love, Oleanna (both West End) and Death and the Maiden (Royal Court and West End). The production will be designed by Peter McKintosh.

Ben Butley is having a monumentally bad day. So bad, he's making sure everyone else has a worse one. His estranged wife has taken up with the most boring man in London. His beloved protégé has found a new benefactor. And in an unprecedented act of betrayal even the English department's resident failure has a book deal. Butley's trusty arsenal – mischievous irony and gleeful troublemaking – have never failed him yet. Might they finally prove to be the weapons of his own tragic self-destruction?

Dominic West played the character of Jimmy McNulty in five seasons of The Wire (HBO) from 2002 to 2008. His other screen credits include The Devil's Whore, Centurion and 300. His theatre credits include The Seagull (Old Vic), As You Like It (West End), The Voysey Inheritance (National), Rock 'n' Roll (West End) and Life Is A Dream (Donmar).

Penny Downie will play the role of Edna Shaft. Her recent stage roles include Gertrude in Hamlet and Penelope in The Penelopiad (both for the RSC) and Dinner (National Theatre/West End).

Paul McGann will play Reg Nuttall. His first major role was as Percy Topliss in the BBC series The Monocled Mutineer. Best known for his role in Withnail and I and as the eighth Doctor in Doctor Who, Paul's theatre work includes Helen (Globe Theatre) and Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre). Paul also recently appeared as Mark North in the TV series Luther.

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