Bill Kenwright presents Martin Shaw in the West End premiere of Gore Vidal’s sharp political drama The Best Man, at The Playhouse Theatre from Saturday 24 February.
Written and produced on Broadway nearly 60 years ago, long before the battles of Trump vs Clinton and May vs Corbyn, The Best Man never achieved a West End transfer at the time because it was thought that American politics were of no real interest to London audiences.
Martin Shaw is William Russell, esteemed ex-Secretary of State and US presidential candidate, with something of a philandering reputation. Jeff Fahey is Joseph Cantwell, an ambitious populist newcomer, opposing Russell for the party nomination.
Running neck and neck, the only thing that might separate the candidates are endorsements from a respected Ex-President (Jack Shepherd) and party big-wig (Maureen Lipman). As the race heats up the campaign gets personal, involving Russell’s estranged wife Alice (Glynis Barber) and Cantwell’s wife Mabel (Honeysuckle Weeks). But where does compromise end and corruption begin? How far will they each go to become the most powerful man in the world? And who in the end will be proven to be “the best man”?
The play mirrors the often surprising results of campaigning, and the all-too-often unscrupulous world of politics.
The Best Man is at The Playhouse Theatre 24th February – 12th May 2018.