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2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH
Ended 30 Apr 2016 after 56 days
"I found myself laughing a good deal – as did the rest of the audience – and admiring the performances of Branagh and Rob Brydon."
After seven years directing up a storm in Hollywood, with blockbuster hits like Thor and Cinderella to his name, Kenneth Branagh returns to the London stage for a season of five shows at The Garrick. Third on the list is a staging of The Painkiller, by Francis Veber, and adapted by Sean Foley. Television funnyman Rob Brydon, last seen treading the boards in Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus of Disapproval, stars opposite Branagh.
A darkly-hued farce, revolving around a suicidal photographer and a cool-as-ice hitman, The Painkiller contains all the comic brio you would expect from Foley, one of the co-creators of the sublime, Olivier Award-winning Morecome and Wise homage The Play What I Wrote. The director and his two stars previously staged The Painkiller at The Lyric in Belfast in 2011, where its whirlwind of slapstick, mistaken identity and misused tranquillisers went down a storm.
In a Belfast hotel, two guests in adjoining rooms are planning to kill someone. In the case of depressed Welsh photographer Dudley (Brydon), who has just been left by his wife, that someone is himself. His neighbour Ralph (Branagh), a smartly dressed, unflappable hitman, has his sights set on a witness who is due to testify in the courthouse across the street. But when Dudley's first suicide attempt goes awry, its Ralph who comes to his aid, and an unlikely partnership is formed, which results in a very different evening than either of them had planned.
Opening night: 5 March 2016
Closing night: 30 April 2016
Rob Brydon photo credit: Walking with the Wounded
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