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Gore Vidal’s The Best Man receiving West End premiere at the Playhouse Theatre

Wednesday, 31st Jan 2018  

The Best Man - Playhouse Theatre

In regards to the West End’s plays, a lot of focus has been on the Theatre Royal Haymarket of late, with its announcements of shows like Tartuffe and the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg’s Life and Fate.

But now we turn our attentions across to the Playhouse Theatre where audiences will finally get the West End premiere of a show that was first seen on the other side of the Atlantic back in March 1960.

The Best Man, a political drama penned by the late, great Gore Vidal, is set to appear at the Playhouse Theatre with performances beginning in late February. That alone will be enough to entice political junkies to the West End, but add a cast that includes Martin Shaw and Maureen Lipman to the mix and you have the recipe for Theatreland magic.

The plot concerns itself with the primaries of a US political party ahead of a presidential election, with Martin Shaw playing William Russell, who is hoping for the top job having previously served as Secretary of State. But Joseph Cantwell (Jeff Fahey) opposes him and seeks the nomination for himself.

The show then explores the tumultuous wrangling that goes on during the campaign, bringing some big names into the mix and through the mud.

Gore Vidal penned the play many decades ago, adapted it for the screen and lived long enough to see various revivals before his death in July 2012. The American writer was responsible for penning many political commentary pieces, novels and plays and this made him a significant figure of the political world.

This play was an important part of that significance, which is demonstrated by the numerous awards it has received, as well as the big names that have inhabited its roles. This is reflected in the current cast, which not only includes Shaw, Lipman and Fahey, but also Jack Shepherd, Glynis Barber and Honeysuckle Weeks, whilst directing duties fall upon Simon Evans.

The Best Man runs at the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End from Monday 5th March 2018 (previews from Saturday 24th February 2018) to Saturday 12th May 2018.

Chris Packer
Chris Packer Chris Packer has been writing about the West End for many years and wishes this knowledge would help him win some pub quizzes. When he’s not writing about the newest shows he’s probably watching films or anticipating the latest releases.

Article filed under: Theatre News | New Productions |


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