Olympic Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre
Stage Adaptation of 1981 British Film Set During the 1924 Olympics Heading to the West End
There was a time in which theatre producers were worried that the Olympic Games would lead to low theatre revenue and it seems that they have found a good way to counter that – by bringing in some Olympic-themed shows and stars to the West End. Earlier this week it was revealed that Gold-medallist Robin Cousins would be appearing in “Chicago” and today it has been revealed that the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire”, which concerns the 1924 Paris Olympics, is headed to the Gielgud Theatre.
The movie – and its stage adaptation – focuses on two athletes during the mentioned games – Eric Liddell, who will be played by Jack Lowden, and Harold Abrahams, who will be played by James McArdle – as they battle it out for their own personal reasons. Liddell is a Scottish Christian who competes due to his faith in God, whilst Abrahams is hoping to overcome prejudice as an English Jew.
The movie emerged in cinemas in 1981 and was directed by Hugh Hudson from Colin Welland’s script. This time around it is Mike Bartlett who has adapted it to the stage.
Bartlett has been behind a wealth of shows as a writer and even turned his hand to directing at venues such as the Finborough Theatre. His credits include “Earthquakes in London”, which appeared at the National Theatre in 2010, “Cock” at the Royal Court Theatre (which earned the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre), “Artefacts” at the Bush Theatre and “Love Contract” at the Royal Court Theatre. So London theatre audiences have seen his work on a number of different occasions.
Music from the movie version of “Chariots of Fire” is set to appear in the stage version, as well as new pieces from Jason Carr, whilst Miriam Buether provides the designs. As such it promises to be something to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, the Gielgud Theatre was recently the home of “The Ladykillers”, which closed last weekend.
“Chariots of Fire” is at the Gielgud Theatre from Friday 22nd June 2012 to Saturday 10th November 2012. It also plays at the Hampstead Theatre from May.