Doping in sport. Deny, Deny, Deny on starting blocks at Park Theatre

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It’s the first rule in the doper’s handbook. If you’re accused of cheating, deny it. Then deny it again. And carry on denying it, until you can’t.

Deny Deny Deny, journalist turned playwright Jonathan Maitland’s new play tackling the controversial and highly current subject of doping in sport, premieres at London’s Park Theatre next month.

Eve, a promising young athlete, is offered a cutting edge new ‘therapy’ by her mysterious, charismatic coach. She says it will make her the fastest woman in the world: but is it as safe, legal and ethical as she claims?

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The play, which is set in the near future, is a gripping, extraordinary and revealing exposé of what it takes to be a champion. A tale of ambition, love, revenge, jealousy and 21st century science, based on two years of research.

Writer, broadcaster and retired British sprinter Jeanette Kwayke is technical consultant to the production, bringing her wealth of experience in the field of athletics to bear on the subject matter of the play.

Jeanette said: “The timing of this play could not be more apt, given the current status of doping in sport.

“A subject that is close to my heart, having raced and competed against those who will cross the line of ethics to get to the finish line first. I’m proud to have played a part in this production and I urge all athletes and coaches to watch.”

Juma Sharkah, who was nominated for an Olivier for her performance in the Royal Court’s Liberian Girl, will play Eve; Zoe Waites is her coach Rona; Shvorne Marks stars as Joyce.

Daniel Fraser and Sarah Finigan complete the cast.

Jonathan Maitland said: “I find it incredible that some sports stars are actually willing to risk their lives, just to win a race or a game.

“This play is about why, and how, they get to that point. The setting is the world of professional sport but the themes – innocence, corruption and self-destructive ambition – are universal.

“It could just as easily be set in the City, or the world of politics.”

Deny, Deny, Deny, directed by Brendan O’Hea who previously collaborated with Maitland on An Audience with Jimmy Savile, runs at the Park Theatre from November 2 – December 3.

*There will be a post-show audience debate: “Performance Enhancing Drugs: who’s doing them and why” on November 10 & 17 (post matinee performances), free for ticket holders.

The Q and As will feature experts including former Olympic sprinter Jeanette Kwayke, ex-head of UK Anti-Doping Michele Verroken, Professor Chris Copper (author, “Run, Throw, Swim, Cheat”), Frank Dick OBE and playwright Jonathan Maitland.

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