Birmingham gets stage première of Withnail and I

Published: 12 October 2023
Reporter: Steve Orme

Directing “a comedy like no other”: Sean Foley Credit: Kris Askey

Bruce Robinson, writer and director of the 1987 British tragi-comedy film Withnail and I, has adapted it and the stage version will be at Birmingham Rep in 2024.

The film, based on an unpublished novel by Robinson, was produced by Handmade Films and starred Richard E Grant, Paul McGann and Richard Griffiths.

Birmingham Rep artistic director Sean Foley will direct. He said, “hilarious, tragic and wild, Withnail and I is a comedy like no other and I’m thrilled to be working with the legendary Bruce Robinson.

“Our world première stage version brings to life the classic dialogue, the insane situations and above all the boozy, irresistibly hilarious relationship of one of the most famous slacker duos ever created.”

The story is set in September 1969. Two young unemployed actors, the flamboyant, boozy Withnail and the shy, contemplative Marwood, live in utter squalor in a flat in Camden Town. Their only visitor is their drug dealer Danny, their only expeditions are to local pubs and their only friends are each other.

Designer will be Alice Power. The cast and the rest of the creative team will be announced later. Withnail and I will run at Birmingham Rep from Friday 3 until Saturday 25 May 2024.

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