I spy a West End hit

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The Independent Culture
I spy a West End hit

Simon Gray is well known for writing meaty roles for actors. Alan Bates did nicely out of him with leads in Butley (1971) and Otherwise Engaged (1975), while Bob Peck consolidated his reputation with a striking performance in Gray's TV film After Pilkington. His latest stage play, Cell Mates, which previews from Tuesday and opens on Thursday, stars Stephen Fry and Rik Mayall. The ambition and betrayal which stalk the world of espionage has proved fertile territory for theatre and, with its portrayal of George Blake, Cell Mates is the latest in a long tradition of drama in which spies take centre-stage. Julian Mitchell used a fictionalised version of Burgess and MacLean as a springboard in Another Country, while Alan Bennett produced An Englishman Abroad about Guy Burgess and A Question of Attribution about Blunt. A pretty good club to join.

Cell Mates, Albery Theatre, St Martin's Lane, WC2 (071-369 1730) Leicester Square, from Tue 14 Feb; £11-24