Last night it was revealed that James McAvoy will return to Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed season to star in a revival of The Ruling Class.
Following his performance in Macbeth, which launched the first Trafalgar Transformed season and earned him an Olivier award nomination for Best Actor, McAvoy will play Jack, the 14th Earl of Gurney, in the first revival of Peter Barnes’ satirical comedy. Lloyd directs.
The production opens on 27th January (previews from 16th January) and runs until 11th April 2015. Design is by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by Jon Clarkand sound by Ben and Max Ringham.
Jack, a possible paranoid schizophrenic with a Messiah complex, inherits the title of the 14th Earl of Gurney after his father passes away in a bizarre accident. Singularly unsuited to a life in the upper echelons of elite society, Jack finds himself at the centre of a ruthless power struggle as his scheming family strives to uphold their reputation.
The Ruling Class premiered in 1968 at Nottingham Playhouse and promptly transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End where it won the Evening Standard Award for Best Drama in 1969. This black and caustic class comedy was then made into a movie in 1972 starring Peter O’Toole.
Jamie Lloyd said: "I am honoured to be directing the first ever revival of Peter Barnes' anarchic cult comedy, which takes a satirical look at the Establishment and will, therefore, feel more politically resonant than ever in the run up to the General Election next year.
"With the news that James McAvoy could join us again, I felt that this vivid production of Barnes' explosively funny play should conclude the second Trafalgar Transformed season. James kick-started our ambitious venture with his incendiary Macbeth, so it feels as if everything has come full circle. I am delighted to introduce the work of Peter Barnes to our young and diverse audience at Trafalgar."
James McAvoy said “I had an incredible time in Trafalgar Transformed's Macbeth and couldn't wait to find something else to work on with Jamie Lloyd. Jamie, his producing partners and their team are committed to making theatre that is accessible to all.
"I love being a part of that and it has been great to see them transform the demographic of their West End audience, not least with the inspiring £15 Mondays initiative. I can't wait to play this challenging role in Barnes' forgotten masterpiece. This play combines all the things that Jamie's seasons are about, and for me what theatre is when it's at its best: it is wild, funny, shocking, subversive and brutal, and, most importantly,entertaining."