Tom Conti and Laurence Fox are set to star in the premiere of The Patriotic Traitor which opens at London’s Park Theatre in February.
Written and directed by multi-award winning Jonathan Lynn (Yes Minister/Yes, Prime Minister, My Cousin Vinny and Nuns on the Run), the drama tells the extraordinary true story of two close friends, Charles de Gaulle and Philippe Pétain, who found themselves on opposing sides in World War II.
This relationship, noble, comic and absurd, changed history: Marshall Pétain, a tough, uncompromising soldier who rose through the ranks to save France in 1916 at the Battle of Verdun, and General de Gaulle, the aristocratic, academic, awkward and equally uncompromising soldier who led France to freedom when Pétain became a Nazi collaborator.
In 1945 de Gaulle had his oldest friend tried for treason. But was it as simple as it seemed? This extraordinary story is seen as Pétain waits for the verdict.
Conti stars as Pétain and Fox will play Charles de Gaulle, alongside Niall Ashdown, James Chalmers, Ruth Gibson and Tom Mannion.
Jonathan Lynn said: “What is a patriot? Who is a traitor? These questions are with us today, all over the world, just as much as they were in 1940.
“Is Edward Snowden, for instance, a traitor or a patriot? Is this simply a matter of our point of view, or are there absolute answers?
“To keep the people safe is surely the most fundamental duty of every political leader. Few people are given the opportunity to save their country.
“This awful responsibility fell to two giants, Philippe Petain and Charles de Gaulle – twice to Petain. This is a story of love and betrayal, and their triumph and tragedy has fascinated me for many years.
“I hope it fascinates you. I am fortunate to have Tom Conti and Laurence Fox to bring these two great men and monstrous egotists to life.”
The Patriotic Traitor runs at the Park Theatre from February 17-March 19.