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Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn to star in Sam Shepard's True West at the Vaudeville Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

KIT Harington and Johnny Flynn are to star as warring brothers Austin and Lee in the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West.

The first UK production of Shepard’s work since his death last summer, True West will play a limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre from December 4, 2018 (previews from November 23) to February 16, 2019.

Austin is working on a movie script that he has sold to producer Saul Kimmer when Lee stumbles back in to his life. Never content to watch from the sidelines, he pitches his own idea to Kimmer, an action which has far reaching consequences…

Set against the searing heat of the Californian desert, Shepard’s critically acclaimed drama pits brother against brother as a family tears itself apart, exposing the cracks in the American Dream.

True West will be directed by Matthew Dunster (Hangmen, Love And Money) who said:

“There is something dangerous about True West. It’s always unsettled me. I was always scared of reading it. Fearful of its burning content but also of its brilliance. When Sam Shepard died I went back to it and I knew I had to find a way of doing it. And I have questions about the play: Is it about two brothers, or is it about how we all grapple with two sides of ourselves, thought by thought, dream by dream? Was the promise of the ‘West’, or is the promise of any mythical dream, really ‘True’?

“You need the very best actors to take this kind of play on. You preferably need two actors who can sniff the danger and are prepared to be unsettled and to unsettle. To have Kit and Johnny with me to ask the questions, and to take on these roles in Shepard’s masterpiece, is as exciting as my job gets. I can’t wait!”

Kit Harington has starred as Jon Snow since 2011 in the Emmy Award-winning HBO drama series Game of Thrones. With 38 Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones is the most decorated show in the ceremony’s history. In 2016, Harington received his first Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Harington studied drama and theatre at the Central School of Speech & Drama. Before graduating in 2008, he won the lead role of Albert in the National Theatre’s production of War Horse. The production transferred to the New London Theatre, and he stayed with the role until 2009 after which he appeared in Posh, by Laura Wade, at the Royal Court Theatre. In 2016, Harington made his much‐anticipated West End return in the Jamie Lloyd directed production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, playing the title role.

In 2018, Harington was Executive Producer on a miniseries entitled Gunpowder in which he played his real‐life ancestor on his mother’s side, Catholic rebel Robert Catesby who was part of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the failed scheme by Roman Catholic militants to blow up the House of Lords in London. The series also starred Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss and Liv Tyler.

His upcoming film projects include the English‐language film from French‐Canadian director Xavier Dolan, The Life and Death of John F Donovan; while past film projects include the HBO sports mockumentary 7 Days in Hell, Sony Pictures Classics drama Testament of Youth and the big‐screen adaptation of the hit British spy series Spooks: The Greater Good. He also lent his voice to the animated film How to Train Your Dragon 2 which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2014 and received an Academy Award nomination.

Johnny Flynn is an actor, composer and songwriter who has worked extensively across film, television and theatre. He recently shot a lead role in ITV’s upcoming adaption of Vanity Fair and starred in Genius: Einstein (National Geographic) as the young Albert Einstein to Geoffrey Rush’s older version. Flynn also plays the leading role of Dylan in Lovesick, the first two series of which are currently streaming on Netflix with a third on the way. Further television credits include Brotherhood, The Nightmare World Of HG Wells and Detectorists.

Flynn most recently played the protagonist Pascal in the feature film Beast, which received critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival this year, previous to its premiere at the London Film Festival. He has also starred in Love Is Thicker Than Water, Clouds of Sils Maria opposite Kristin Stewart and Chloe Moretz, and Song One in which he co-starred with Anne Hathaway.

Flynn was nominated for ‘London Newcomer of the Year’ at the Whatsonstage Awards (2012) for his performance in The Heretic (Royal Court) and went on to win his first Olivier Award nomination for Jerusalem (West End) that year. Further credits include The Low Road (Royal Court), Richard III and Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe/West End) and, most recently, Martin McDonagh’s hit Hangmen (Royal Court/West End). He went on to reprised his role of Mooney in this year’s transfer to New York.

Flynn has released five albums to date with his band Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, the most recent being Sillion (2017) which he is currently promoting.

Matthew Dunster is an Olivier-nominated director, a playwright and an actor, and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe.

His numerous directing credits include: The Secret Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing, Imogen, The Frontline, Troilus and Cressida, Dr Faustus and The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hangmen (Wyndham’s Theatre/Royal Court/Atlantic Theater, New York), Liberian Girl (Royal Court), The Seagull, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Love’s Sacrifice (RSC), Mametz (National Theatre Wales), Before the Party (Almeida Theatre), The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells), and The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal & Derngate, Northampton).

As a writer, his credits include: Children’s Children (Almeida Theatre), You Can See the Hills (Royal Exchange Manchester/Young Vic), A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and his re-imagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells).

Sam Shepard’s first New York plays, Cowboys and The Rock Garden, were produced by Theatre Genesis in 1964. For several seasons, he worked with Off-Off-Broadway theatre groups including La MaMa and Caffe Cino. Eleven of his plays won Obie Awards, including Chicago, The Tooth of the Crime and Curse of the Starving Class. Other award-winning plays include Fool for Love, True West, A Lie of the Mind and Buried Child, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979.

Additional casting and creative team for True West will be announced in due course.

True West is produced by Smith & Brant Theatricals and Empire Street Productions.

Tickets: From £15. To book, call the box office on 0330 333 4814 or visit www.truewestlondon.com/.

Times: Mondays – Saturdays at 7:30pm; Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Classic Spring’s Oscar Wilde season continues at the Vaudeville Theatre with An Ideal Husband (until July 14) and The Importance of Being Earnest (July 20 to October 20, 2018).