One of the great treats of being a British television fan is the fact that, at any given moment in time, you can catch a very familiar name or face from your favorite British comedy or drama series on the theatre stage. Whether it be the ultimate of London’s West End or one of the many brilliant regional theatre presentations around the country, there’s usually someone somewhere at any time that you’ve been television friends with for years appearing on stage. Nothing unusual given most British comedy actors and actresses have a history of formal theatre training. In recent years, the likes of Penelope Keith, Felicity Kendal, Richard Briers, Peter Bowles, Geoffrey Palmer, Dame Judi Dench, David Haig, Clive Swift and Patricia Routledge have showcased their considerable talents on the stage.
The most recent addition to the growing list of British comedy stars taking the stage are Robert Lindsay (My Family) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) who will take the stage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from November 4 to January 28 for the Trevor Nunn directed production of James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter. Ok, not quite Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, but if you’re a British comedy fan, this will be something to see.
So, next time you find yourself in London or any of the surrounding communities, check out some of the great regional theatre. Here are some that we’ve tracked down to get you started:
- Penelope Keith at the Chichester Festival Theatre in In Praise of Rattigan, 7 August
- James Corden at the National Theatre in One Man, Two Guvnors, begins 8 November
- David Tennant and Catherine Tate at Wyndham’s Theatre in Much Ado About Nothing, ends 3 September
- Peter Capaldi, James Fleet and Ben Miller at Gielgud Theatre in The Lady Killers, begins 26 November
- Ben Miles and Douglas Henshall at Comedy Theatre in Betrayal, ends 20 August
Or, you can go right to a theatre adaptation of a classic British comedy at the Apollo Theatre and the greatness of Jonathan Lyn and Antony Jay’s classic, Yes Prime Minister. Need to hurry, however, it closes on 17 September.