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Louis Maskell Starring in The Grinning Man at the Trafalgar Studios

Thursday, 12th Oct 2017  

The Grinning Man - Trafalgar Studio One

When you think of Victor Hugo, you naturally think of his epic tale Les Misérables, the musical of which continues to draw in the fans at the Queen’s Theatre, but this December another of his works will be getting the West End treatment, this time at the Trafalgar Studios.

His book The Man Who Laughs had been adapted into the musical The Grinning Man and it appeared at the Bristol Old Vic in 2016. Now that very same production heads to the West End with original star Louis Maskell making the transition to the capital as well.

In The Grinning Man the focus is on the character of Grinpayne, the disfigured character first created by Hugo back in the 1860s (where he goes by the name Gwynplaine). He arrives at the Stokes Croft fair and becomes a sensation, with his bandaged face hiding scars around his mouth that give him a perpetual grin, and soon he teams with an array of colourful characters as a tale unfolds.

The original novel was published in 1869 and has actually been adapted on numerous occasions over the last century and a half. The most famous is the 1928 film version, though various stage productions have also emerged, with musical versions in 2006 and 2013, in addition to this new musical production.

Performer Louis Maskell appeared in the show back in Bristol and returns for the West End version. He has appeared in various regional performances, such as the touring productions of Scrooge and West Side Story. He has also appeared in various television shows.

For The Grinning Man he will appear alongside Julian Bleach, who also returns from Bristol, as they once again tackle a story with a book by Carl Grose.

The Trafalgar Studios is currently the home of Apologia, a story of explosive tensions rippling through a countryside birthday party. It stars Stockard Channing and continues at the venue until November. Meanwhile, the smaller Trafalgar Studios 2 space is the home of Le Grand Mort, with The Red Lion following next month.

The Grinning Man runs at the Trafalgar Studios 1 from Monday 18th December 2017 (with previews from Tuesday 5th December 2017).

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 |