Stephen Merchant makes theatre debut in The Mentalists

Stephen Merchant

Comic and writer Stephen Merchant is set to make his stage debut alongside Steffan Rhodri in a revival of Richard Bean’s 2002 comedy, The Mentalists.

Holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room Ted (Merchant), and Morrie (Steffan Rhodri) are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship.

Things unravel as the pressure mounts in this hilarious and touching tale of friendship and utopian visions gone awry.

Well-known for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais, including popular television shows The Office, Extras, Life’s Too Short and An Idiot Abroad, Merchant recently starred in Dan Mazer’s hit British comedy film I Give It A Year alongside Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall.

Merchant wrote, directed and performed Hello Ladies, an international stand-up comedy tour which he went on to re-create as a television series for HBO including HBO special Hello Ladies – The Movie.

In a career that has seen Merchant accept four BAFTA awards, four British Comedy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television work, The Mentalists will mark both his theatrical and West End debut.

Steffan Rhodri was last seen in the West End in Laura Wade’s Posh and Alan Ayckborn’s Absent Friends, both in 2012.

Steffan Rhodri

On television, Rhodri became a household name portraying Dave Coaches in Gavin & Stacey for three years between 2007 and 2010. More recent television credits include Under Milk Wood for the BBC and Channel 4’s Cucumber.

Since writing The Mentalists, originally part of the Transformation season in 2002 at the National Theatre, Richard Bean has gone on to score West End successes with One Man, Two Guvnors and Great Britain.

Stephen Merchant said: “I’m going to be in a West End play. A hilarious, darkly poignant Richard Bean play no less. Come and see me and Steffan Rhodri doing proper acting in The Mentalists this summer.”

Richard Bean added: “The central concerns of the play are even more relevant in an election year than when I wrote it.

“Factors like the perceived decline of social values and how this can result in the rise of fringe parties and a very personal view of politics fascinate me; but the real humour of the piece comes from Ted & Morrie’s friendship, their reliance on each other and how they deal with their frustrations as working men battling against the world.”

Directed by Abbey Wright, The Mentalists will play at the Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, from July 3-September 26.

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