Con O'Neill is to replace Matt Lucas in the role of Kenneth Halliwell in Daniel Kramer's production of Prick Up Your Ears at the Comedy Theatre. O'Neill will join Chris New who plays Joe Orton and Gwen Taylor as their neighbour in Simon Bent's new play from 22 October 2009.
Olivier award-winning and Tony award-nominated Con O'Neill played legendary record producer and maverick musical genius Joe Meek in Nick Moran's Telstar both on stage at the New Ambassadors Theatre, and recently on screen alongside a cast including Pam Ferris, James Corden and Kevin Spacey. Last week Telstar was also released on DVD.
Prick Up Your Ears tells the sensational story behind the domestic life of RADA graduates, aspiring playwrights, and sometime lovers Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, holed up in a tiny flat in Islington. After striking his famous lover to death, Halliwell went on to commit suicide.
"We are thrilled that Con O'Neill, an actor of such significance, is available to take on the role of Kenneth Halliwell at such short notice in our production of Prick Up Your Ears. Given the sad news that Matt Lucas has recently received, and the role he was playing, it is understandable that he could not return to play Halliwell at this time and our thoughts are with him. On-going support for our production from audiences at the Comedy Theatre over the past week has been wonderful and given the huge investment from our cast, director, writer and production team, we are delighted that the brilliant Con O'Neill is joining our company so that the show that we are so proud of can complete its West End run." The Producers, Prick Up Your Ears.
On stage Con O'Neill's other credits include Faces in the Crowd for the Royal Court, The Female of the Species at the Vaudeville Theatre, The Caretaker for Sheffield Theatres and The Tricycle Theatre, Southwark Fair and Mother Clap's Molly House both for the National Theatre, and A Tribute to the Blues Brothers at the Whitehall Theatre. His other film credits include Bedrooms and Hallways, A Perfect Match, The Lilac Bus and Dancin' Thru the Dark. O'Neill's television credits include Margot, Criminal Justice, My Hero, Trial and Retribution, Waking the Dead, Tom Jones and Soldier Soldier.
Daniel Kramer's production of Prick Up Your Ears, a new play by Simon Bent inspired exclusively by the John Lahr biography and the diaries of Joe Orton, has designs by Peter McKintosh with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Gareth Owen. With the full support of the Orton Estate, Prick Up Your Ears is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions, Lee Menzies, John Gore and Thomas B. McGrath.
Prick Up Your Ears continues to play at the Comedy Theatre with Michael Chadwick, Matt Lucas' understudy, playing the role of Halliwell until Con O'Neill takes over the role on 22 October.
Theatre: Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN
Dates: through 29 November 2009
Performances: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm, Saturdays matinees 2.30pm,
Weekday matinees at 2.30pm on 14 & 28 October and
11 & 25 November
Box Office: 0870 0606637
Tickets: from £17.50 with best seats at £25.
Photo credit: Catherine Ashmore
Con O'Neill and Chris New
Chris New and Con O'Neill