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New, Lucas Cast In Prick Up Your Ears At Comedy Theatre 9/17-12/6

Matt Lucas is to play Kenneth Halliwell alongside Chris New as playwright Joe Orton in Daniel Kramer's production of Prick Up Your Ears, a new play by Simon Bent. Inspired exclusively by the John Lahr biography and the diaries of Joe Orton, Prick Up Your Ears examines the private lives of these two extraordinary men. With the full support of the Orton Estate, including Leonie Orton, Joe Orton's younger sister, Prick Up Your Ears is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions and Lee Menzies. Casting for the third and final role of Mrs Corden, the neighbour, will be announced shortly.

Prick Up Your Ears is running at the Comedy Theatre from 17 September until 6 December (including Sunday performances at 4pm) with press night on 30 September. Prior to the West End opening, Prick Up Your Ears will play at Richmond Theatre from 26 - 29 August, the Quays Theatre, The Lowry, Salford from 31 August - 5 September and then the Theatre Royal Brighton from 7 - 12 September.

1962. Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton - RADA graduates, aspiring playwrights, and sometime lovers - plot their rightful place at the centre of London's literary scene whilst engaged in a secret crusade to "improve" the local library books, all in the worst possible taste of course, and acting out their own versions of popular radio dramas... with an extra dash of innuendo. But after a short interlude at Her Majesty's pleasure, Joe is about to become the greatest, and most notorious comic playwright since Oscar Wilde, whilst Ken stays indoors re-decorating, reduced to sharing Joe's success with their neighbour, Mrs Corden, over tea and a slice of battenburg.

Prick Up Your Ears - a darkly funny and moving play imagines what really happened when, after years of creative collaboration, the door slammed shut and Kenneth was home alone. It tells the sensational story behind the domestic life of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, holed up in a tiny flat in Islington, trading well-trodden insults and hilarious put-downs like any old married couple.

Joe Orton's plays include The Ruffian on the Stair, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Loot and What the Butler Saw. His novels included Head to Toe and Between us Girls.

Matt Lucas, together with his comedy partner David Walliams, are creators of the international hit comedy series, Little Britain for which they have won over 20 awards worldwide. On stage Lucas has been seen in Little Britain Live touring the UK and Australia, Taboo in the West End and Troilus and Cressida for the Oxford Stage Company, as well as many live performances at the Edinburgh Festival. His film credits include Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Shaun of the Dead, Cold and Dark, Plunkett and Macleane and Jilting Joe. As well as the multi award-winning series of Little Britain, on television his many credits include Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, Shooting Stars, Kath and Kim, Gavin and Stacy, Wind in the Willows, Casanova, King Arthur's Disasters, Catterick, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, Rock Profile, Sir Bernard's Stately Homes and Sunnyside Farm.

Chris New, who trained at RADA, was last seen on stage in London at the Young Vic in Amazonia. His other theatre credits include Daniel Kramer's production of Bent at the Trafalgar Studios, Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hayfever for the Royal Exchange Theatre and The Reporter for The National Theatre. His television credits include Doctors, Silent Witness, Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me and Casualty.

For The National Theatre Simon Bent adapted John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meany where it enjoyed a sell-out run and has subsequently been produced in Washington, Boston and Philadelphia. His adaptation of Elling starring John Simm, which opened at the Bush Theatre in 2007, transferred to the Trafalgar Studios and has recently begun a run at the Sydney Theatre Company's Wharf 1 in Australia. His play The Associate was also seen at the National, in 2002. Simon Bent's other plays include Goldhawk Road, Wasted, The Escapologist, Shelter, Under the Black Flag, Accomplices and Sugar Sugar. His television writing credits include the BAFTA nominated Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, Beau Brummell, The Yellow House and Sex, the City and Me.

Theatre and Opera Director Daniel Kramer has previously directed Pictures from an Exhibition - a co-production between Sadler's Wells and the Young Vic, Punch & Judy for the English National Opera at the Young Vic for which he received the South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, Angels in America for Headlong, Woyzeck at St Anne's Warehouse, New York, Bent starring Alan Cumming and Chris New at Trafalgar Studios, Hair and Woyzeck for the Gate Theatre, and Through the Leaves at Southwark Playhouse which transferred to the Duchess Theatre in the West End. Next month Kramer will direct Prima Donna, a new opera by Rufus Wainwright, which premieres at the Manchester International Festival and later this year he will direct Duke Bluebeard's Castle for English National Opera.

Theatre: Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN

Dates: 17 September - 6 December

Press Night: 30 September at 7pm

Performances: Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm

Saturdays matinees 2.30pm

Sundays 4pm

Weekday matinees at 2.30pm are on14 & 28 October

and11 & 25 November

Box Office: 0870 0606637

Tickets £17.50 - £49.50, plus concessions

Previews £10 off top three prices



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