To coincide with the play's 50th anniversary, Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs will star in a major West End revival of Harold Pinter's classic comedy of menace, The Dumb Waiter. Directed by Harry Burton, The Dumb Waiter previews at the Trafalgar Studios from 2 February with press night on 8 February and will have a strictly limited seven week run until 24 March 2007. It is designed by Peter McKintosh and is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions with Michael Edwards and Carole Winter.
In an airless basement room, two killers await confirmation of the identity of their next 'hit.' They're a team from way back. Today something has disturbed their normally efficient routine. Unseen forces bear down on them in their precarious and darkly funny world. Meanwhile, increasingly bizarre orders keep arriving via a serving hatch?
Lee Evans will play Gus. Evans returned to the theatre in November 2004 playing the part of Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks' The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and in the same year he starred opposite Michael Gambon in Beckett's Endgame at the Albery Theatre. Evans previously won the highly coveted Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1993 and later that year he performed two sell-out nights live at the London Palladium. In 1996 he took the West End by storm with a sell-out 6 week run at the Lyric Theatre and returned again in 1998 for a further 10 sell-out weeks at the Apollo Theatre. In 2002 Lee became the first solo comedian to play Wembley Arena for 2 sell-out nights and the video/DVD from the show which reached number 5 in the UK charts sold over 800,000 copies.
In 2005 Lee returned to Wembley Arena playing 6 sell-out nights to over 60,000 people. The DVD - Lee Evans XL Tour 2005 Live went on to sell over a million copies and was number 1 in the charts over Christmas. His television career includes World of Lee Evans (C4), The Lee Evans Show (ITV), Lee Evans - So What Now (BBC1) and to be screened on ITV 1 this April the lead role in the period drama of the HG Wells classic The History Of Mr Polly. His film work includes Funny Bones (with Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt), The Fifth Element (with Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman), Mouse Hunt (with Nathan Lane and Christopher Walken), There's Something About Mary (with Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller), The Martins (with Kathy Burke) and, more recently, Highbinders with Jackie Chan, Freeze Frame with Ian McShane and Rachael Stirling and Plots with a View with Christopher Walken and Brenda Blethyn.
Jason Isaacs will play Ben. On film Isaacs plays Lucius Malfoy, a leading role in the hugely successful Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a role he first played in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and one he will reprise in the soon to be released Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. His other film work includes the award-winning Nine Lives opposite Robin Wright Penn, Captain Hook and Mr Darling in Peter Pan directed by P. J. Hogan, Friends with Money opposite Catherine Keener and Jennifer Aniston, The Tuxedo opposite Jackie Chan, The Patriot playing opposite Mel Gibson, Black Hawk Down directed by Ridley Scott and Neil Jordan's The End of the Affair performing opposite Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore. His theatre work includes Declan Donnellan's production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America for the National Theatre, Patrick Marber's production of Craig Raine's 1953 for the Almeida Theatre and The Force of Change for the Royal Court directed by Robert Delamere. On UK television he has most recently appeared as Sir Mark Brydon in the BBC's critically acclaimed drama series The State Within and as the damaged and dangerous Chris in Leo Regan's hard-hitting Scars on Channel 4. On US television he has appeared in The West Wing and is currently staring in Showtime's hit drama Brotherhood which will be shooting a second series in the spring. His other television work has included Civvies by Lynda La Plante, The Fix by Paul Greengrass and his first big break out of drama school: two series of Thames TV's Capital City.
Born in 1930 in East London, multi award-winning playwright, screen writer, director, political activist and actor Harold Pinter has written twenty-nine plays including The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming and Betrayal, twenty-one screen plays including The Servant, The Go-Between and The French Lieutenant's Woman, and directed twenty-seven theatre productions, including James Joyce's Exiles, David Mamet's Oleanna, seven plays by Simon Gray and many of his own. In his seventy fifth year Harold Pinter received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was appointed CBE in 1966 and became a Companion of Honour in 2002. His many awards include the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D'Honneur for Lifetime Achievement. In October 2006 Pinter performed Samuel Beckett's monologue Krapp's Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Ian Rickson. In February 2007 John Crowley's film version of Pinter's Celebration will be shown on More 4 with a cast including James Bolam, Janie Dee, Colin Firth, James Fox, Michael Gambon, Julia McKenzie, Sophie Okonedo, Stephen Rea and Penelope Wilton.
In February Harry Burton will direct Working With Pinter, an intimate master-class with Pinter, for More 4, including extracts of No Man's Land, Old Times and The Dumb Waiter as well as footage of Pinter attending rehearsals and Burton's interview with the playwright. A regular Pinter collaborator, Burton has most recently directed The Dumb Waiter and The Room for the Royal Court as part of their 50th Anniversary Celebrations. As an actor Harry Burton has worked with Harold Pinter several times, notably on the world premiere and subsequent film of Party Time at The Almeida and for Channel Four; Moonlight and Voices for Radio 3, as well as playing in Betrayal and Pinter's screenplay of Kafka's The Trial. As a director his other credits include The Wild Girl and her Sister for the Lyric Hammersmith Studio, The Lover at the Bridewell, The Soul's Progress and The Leisure Society at the Tristan Bates Theatre.
The Dumb Waiter was first produced at Hampstead Theatre Club in 1960, directed by James Roose Evans with Nicholas Selby as Ben and George Tovey as Gus. More recently, in 2004, Douglas Hodge directed Toby Jones and Jason Watkins in the Oxford Playhouse Production. In 1987 Robert Altman directed John Travolta and Tom Conti in the film version of Pinter's one act play.
"Harry Burton's fine revival"
"A production that reveals the master of menace"
– Daily Telegraph