Julian Clary is to star in Le Grand Mort, a black comedy written specially for him by four-time Olivier Award nominated Stephen Clark.
Clark, who wrote Martin Guerre, Zorro, Love Story, and the play Stripped, which won him a Stephen Jefferson Award, completed the work just before his death at the age of 55, last October.
In his super stylish, sterilely beautiful Notting Hill kitchen, Michael is preparing dinner for two.
He meticulously cuts the vegetables with almost a surgeon’s precision and talks, with knife-like wit, about cases in history where the human body has continued to prove useful even after death.
As he slices and chops, one wonders who is coming for dinner and what the main course might be.
When Tim, his young guest arrives, they engage in a series of funny, thrilling but searingly dangerous mind games, as they try to unravel the reasons why they are both there.
Only when the games turn deadly do they catch a glimpse of the sadness and loss within each of them, that enables them to at least begin to connect with the truth, using whatever damaged shreds of humanity they still have left.
Julian Clary said: “In 2010 Stephen Clark took me out to lunch in Camden and told me he’d like to write a play for me.
“How lovely, how flattering, how unusual! Over the following few years I got the occasional email from Stephen saying ‘I haven’t forgotten the play!’ but I decided he’d probably thought better of it.
“We were both busy with life, work and in Stephen’s case, some serious health issues.
“Then, one day in 2013, it arrived. A funny, dark, beautiful play. Le Grand Mort will take me so far out of my comfort zone I may never return.”
Director Christopher Renshaw said: “Through our many collaborations, Stephen Clark and I became very close friends.
“Someone with whom I shared absolute trust, not only in our work but in our lives. A brave, honest, brilliantly funny man, who faced the many health challenges of his life without a single complaint.
“An inspiration. It is so very sad for me that Stephen will not not be here for the first production of Le Grand Mort, but I know he will be watching from somewhere, sipping a glass of good red wine, absorbing and encouraging every moment of rehearsal, as he always did.”
Le Grand Mort will run at Trafalgar Studios from 20 September – 28 October.