Producers Playful Productions announce the full cast for the West End return of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ record breaking collaboration The Unfriend. Rehearsals began today ahead of performances beginning at the Wyndhams’ Theatre on 16 December, with a press night on 9 January 2024.
As previously announced, the cast is led by award-winning comedian and actor Lee Mack (Would I Lie To You, Not Going Out, Inside No. 9) as Peter, Sarah Alexander (Jonathan Creek, Green Wing, Smack The Pony and Coupling) as Peter’s wife, Debbie, Frances Barber (Silk and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) as Elsa Jean Krakowski and Nick Sampson (Witness for the Prosecution, Anthony and Cleopatra) as The Neighbour.
They are joined by Muzz Khan (Behind The Beautiful, Ten (Stop The War)) as PC Junkin, Maddie Holliday (Afterlife, The Unfriend at the Criterion) as Rosie and Jem Matthews as Alex in his West End debut. The company is completed by Christopher Jordan (Hedda Gabler at The Old Vic, The Unfriend at the Criterion) as understudy Peter/The Neighbour, Cathy Walker (Witness for the Prosecution, The Unfriend at the Criterion) as understudy Debbie/Elsa, Charlie Richards (The Play That Goes Wrong, Four Score Years And Ten) as understudy Alex/PC Junkin and Poppy Shepherd (Our Generation) as understudy Rosie.
Lee Mack said: “I’m delighted to be joining The Unfriend with the brilliant Sarah Alexander and the wonderful Frances Barber, and of course all the other amazing cast. It’s such a fantastically written play by Steven Moffat that I might even go the whole hog and learn the words.”
While on holiday Peter and Debbie befriend Elsa: a lusty, Trump-loving widow from Denver, USA. She’s less than woke but kind of wonderful, so they agree to stay in touch – because no one ever really does, do they?
When Elsa invites herself to stay with the family a few months later, they decide to look her up online. But it’s too late: on learning the truth about Elsa Jean Krakowski, the deadly danger is already on a flight to London! What began as a casual holiday friendship is suddenly a threat to all their lives.
Peter and Debbie now face the ultimate challenge of the modern world – how do you protect all that you love from mortal peril without seeming a bit impolite?
Because guess who’s coming… to MURDER.
Director, Mark Gatiss, said; “You can’t keep a good serial killer down! I’m absolutely delighted that Elsa Jean Krakowski has found a home at the beautiful Wyndham’s theatre and very much look forward to bringing Steven’s hilarious play back to the West End”.
Writer, Steven Moffat said: “It’s a real thrill to welcome a couple of comedy legends on board The Unfriend, for our new run at the Wyndhams Theatre. Lee Mack is one of the funniest men in the country and someone I’ve been wanting to work with for years. And Sarah Alexander is not just brilliant and hilarious, she’s an old friend from our days together on Coupling. Can’t wait to get started all over again.”
Steven Moffat is a six-time BAFTA award-winning writer, whose hit television series include Doctor Who, Sherlock and Dracula – the latter two co-written with the actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who directs this production. Mark Gatiss is a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen. Gatiss’ recent directing credits include The Mezzotint and The Amazing Mr Blunden for Sky Max, in which he also starred. He also recently adapted A Christmas Carol at Nottingham Playhouse and Alexandra Palace. Most recently he won huge acclaim for his role as John Gielgud in The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre.
The Unfriend is designed by Robert Jones, with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Ella Wahlström, video design by Andrzej Goulding and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG. The Unfriend by Steven Moffat was originally developed by Playful Productions.