McAvoy will play Jack, the 14th Earl of Gurney, in the first revival of Peter Barnes’ satirical comedy, The Ruling Class, directed by Artistic Director, Jamie Lloyd. The production runs from 16 January to 11 April 2015, with press night on 27 January.
Jack, a possible paranoid schizophrenic with a Messiah complex, inherits the title of the 14th Earl of Gurney after his father passes away in a bizarre accident. Singularly unsuited to a life in the upper echelons of elite society, Jack finds himself at the centre of a ruthless power struggle as his scheming family strives to uphold their reputation.
Bubbling with wit and a feverish energy, Olivier Award-winning and Oscar-nominated writer Peter Barnes’ razor-sharp satire combines a ferocious mix of hilarity and horror whilst mercilessly exposing the foibles of the English nobility.
The Ruling Class premiered in 1968 at Nottingham Playhouse and promptly transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End where it won the Evening Standard Award for Best Drama in 1969. This black and caustic class comedy was then made into a movie in 1972 starring Peter O’Toole.
Last on stage in Macbeth, also directed by Jamie Lloyd, which launched the first Trafalgar Transformed season, James McAvoy said “I had an incredible time in Trafalgar Transformed's Macbeth and couldn't wait to find something else to work on with Jamie Lloyd. Jamie, his producing partners and their team are committed to making theatre that is accessible to all. I love being a part of that and it has been great to see them transform the demographic of their West End audience."
On The Ruling Class he added, "I can't wait to play this challenging role in Barnes' forgotten masterpiece. This play combines all the things that Jamie's seasons are about, and for me what theatre is when it's at its best: it is wild, funny, shocking, subversive and brutal, and, most importantly, entertaining."
Peter Barnes (1931-2004) was an Olivier Award-winning playwright and screenwriter and the most produced living playwright of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Ruling Class is his most famous play which received critical success when it premiered in 1968 at the Nottingham Playhouse before transferring to the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End. The play was then made into a film in 1972, for which Barnes wrote the screenplay, starring Peter O’Toole, who received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Jack. His other plays include The Bewitched, Jubilee, The Candlemaker, Laughter, Red Noses (which won an Olivier Award for Best Play), Sunset and Glories, Lunar Park Eclipsis and Corpsing.
In America, he is known for many top audience blockbuster miniseries including Merlin, Arabian Nights, Noah's Ark, Leprechauns, Alice In Wonderland and A Christmas Carol, a sharp contrast from his persona as a serious black comedy playwright. Other movies include, Voices, Moon and the Stars, Easy Virtue.
The Ruling Class tickets will sell fast, so don't miss you chance to see James McAvoy in this first ever revival! Book your The Ruling Class tickets now!