Rob Brydon to Make his Stage Debut Alongside Branagh

Wales Online, 21 January 2011
By Robin Turner

Rob Brydon has revealed he is to make his first appearance as a stage actor.

The Port Talbot-born star will appear alongside 50-year-old Kenneth Branagh in the reopening season of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in a new comedy play, 'The Painkiller'.

They could be joined on stage by comedy favourite Sally Phillips, 45, who began her TV career as a motel receptionist in Steve Coogan’s 'I’m Alan Partridge' and who has appeared in TV shows such as 'Smack the Pony', which she co-wrote, and films including 'Bridget Jones’ Diary'.

Phillips appeared in an invited audience “read-through” rehearsal of the play in London alongside Branagh and 45-year-old Brydon.

The new comedy, which is by Francis Veber in a new adaptation by Sean Foley, will be produced by Branagh and Foley and will open on September 29 this year. It will be one of the highlights of the Lyric’s first season in its new £18.1m home.

Actor and film director Branagh was born and bred in Belfast and was delighted to be able to feature in the Lyric’s re-opening season.

Brydon, who recently appeared as “himself” alongside Steve Coogan in BBC’s 'The Trip', announced his foray into stage acting on Twitter. He wrote: “News... I shall be appearing in my first stage play, 'The Painkiller', alongside the brilliant Kenneth Branagh, in Belfast, opens Sept 29.”

Brydon later added: “The play will be at the reopening Lyric. I really couldn’t be more excited about it.”

Branagh said: “'The Painkiller' is a remarkable play. Sean Foley, the director, is a fantastic talent. When he showed me his modern adaptation of Francis Veber’s farce, I knew I wanted to be involved. It’s also a particular thrill to partner on stage the brilliant Rob Brydon.”

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