Mark Gatiss leads new Park season

Reporter: Charlotte Marshall, first published Mon 25 Apr 2016 13:15

Olivier Award winner Mark Gatiss will star alongside his husband Ian Hallard in a revival of Mark Crowley’s seminal drama The Boys In The Band at the Park Theatre this autumn.

The production plays as part of a newly announced 2016 season that also includes a new play by An Audience With Jimmy Savile playwright Jonathan Maitland tackling doping in sport and the first major revival of JB Priestley’s The Roundabout.

Priestley’s little performed comedy will follow the previously announced The Trial Of Jane Fonda into the Finsbury Park theatre’s main Park200 auditorium for a run from 25 August to 24 September.

Set in 1930s England, the An Inspector Calls’ playwright’s touching piece about social order tells the story of The Kettlewells family, a dysfunctional bunch who find themselves sharing a crowded weekend together; communists, ex-wives, mistresses and all.

Hugh Ross’ production will be followed by the eagerly awaited The Boys In The Band from 28 September to 30 October, in which Sherlock star Gatiss will play Harold, a self-avowed ‘pock-marked, Jew fairy’ who at his New York birthday party receives a surprise gift: a beautiful male hustler. Hallard, who last appeared on stage in the Donmar Warehouse’s The Vote, will play party host Michael, who gets an unwanted surprise of his own in the shape of a figure from his past. As the booze is drunk and the dope smoked, the mood swings from hilarity to heart-break.

Moving from hot stars to hot topics, Sarah Esdaile will direct Maitland’s latest topical drama, Deny, Deny, Deny, from 2 November to 3 December.

Following his controversial Jimmy Saville piece at the Park in 2015, Maitland has undertaken two years of research into the often confusing world of sports doping to create what the theatre has described as a “gripping, extraordinary and revealing exposé of what it takes to be a champion”, centring on a promising youth athlete in 2026 who is offered a cutting edge new ‘therapy’.

Concluding the Park200 season from 8 December to 7 January is the London premiere of legendary author C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, adapted for the stage by Max McLean and Jeffrey Fiske.

In a similar vein to his most famous Narnia-set stories, Lewis’ novel conjures an unusual, magical world. This time it’s a morally inverted universe that reveals unseen spiritual powers and principalities in humorous, vivid and surprising ways. Previously a hit in New York, McLean and Fiske’s play is set in an eerily stylish office in Hell where one of Satan’s senior tempters, Screwtape, schemes meticulously to capture the soul of an unsuspecting human on earth.

Adding to an already packed season is the line-up in the theatre’s intimate Park90 theatre. 2016 will see the venue stage plays including Gary Condes’ production of Neil LaBute’s black comedy Some Girl(s) (13 July to 6 August) and the wold premiere of Stephen Fife and Ralph Pezzullo's terrorist drama The American Wife (7 September to 1 October), alongside two brand new musicals to London; the European premiere of Chris Miller’s critically acclaimed The Burnt Park Boys and the world premiere of Michael Yale’s London-set This Little Life Of Mine.