Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find this is not the birthplace of the Bard, but a sleepy Suffolk village. Instead of Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast are a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!
Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s love-letter to amateur dramatics was originally conceived as a film starring Burt Reynolds, Derek Jacobi and Imelda Staunton. It was selected for the Royal Film Performance in November 2008, where the Queen apparently enjoyed it so much that she had it shown at her Christmas celebrations at Sandringham. Re-written by them as a play, it was first performed at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury in 2014.
“terrific comedy packed with killer dialogue…plenty of twists and turns” ***** Whatsonstage
“Deliciously stuffed with Shakespeare…a laugh-a-minute” ***** Mail on Sunday