Two of television’s greatest characters, Harold and Albert Steptoe, are packing up their rag-and-bone cart and heading to the West End in an hilarious new play, “STEPTOE AND SON in Murder at Oil Drum Lane”, by the TV programme’s original creator Ray Galton and fellow comedy writer John Antrobus.
Following a sell-out season at the York Theatre Royal, where it had its World Premiere on 24 October 2005, the play will transfer to the Comedy Theatre on 16 February 2006 for a limited 9 week season prior to a national tour. The original cast including Jake Nightingale (‘Harold’) and Harry Dickman (‘Albert’) will reprise their roles at The Comedy Theatre.
The time is somewhere in the future. The Steptoe house is in the caring hands of the National Trust as the last remaining example of a typical totters yard. ‘Albert’ is long dead - killed in a fit of pique by ‘Harold’ hurling an assegai through the door of the kazee. ‘Harold’ has done a bunk to South America to escape being sentenced to the loony bin. But now, some years later, he slips back into the country to revisit the scene of the crime. Only to discover the ghost of ‘Albert’ waiting for his return…
For the first time on stage in an intriguing new story, ‘Harold’ and ‘Albert’ are once again at each other’s throats as we get the full, unexpurgated account of their hilarious relationship from cradle to the grave and beyond.
“Steptoe and Son”, which ran on TV from 1962-74, was groundbreaking in many ways: it featured established stage/film actors playing humorous characters, not comedians creating extensions of their stage personas which, until this time, was the norm; it dealt with an underclass previously seen on television only in realistic dramas like Armchair Theatre; and its underlying theme of the son trying desperately to escape the clutches of his wily father imbued the series with a pathos and poignancy hitherto absent from the sitcom genre. For all these aspects, it was recognized then, and still holds its place now, as a landmark achievement, one of the most important and funny situation comedies of all time.
Between them, writers Ray Galton and John Antrobus have written for some of the Britain’s best-known comedy actor of the last fifty years including Spike Milligan, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Les Dawson, Sid James, Frankie Howerd, Marty Feldman, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.
“STEPTOE AND SON in Murder at Oil Drum Lane” is directed by Roger Smith, whose numerous credits on stage include the award wining “Duet for One” (Duke of York Theatre), “Steaming” (Comedy Theatre), “The Understanding” (with Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson, Strand Theatre), Dario Fo’s “Trumpets and Raspberries” (Phoenix Theatre), and “When Did You Last See Your Trousers?” written by Ray Galton and John Antrobus (Garrick Theatre). It has design by Nigel Hook and lighting by Richard G Jones and will be produced in the West End by Incidental Colman and The Ambassador Theatre Group.