STEVE COOGAN will lead the first ever stage adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s iconic Dr Strangelove which gets its world premiere in the West End next month.
The accomplished actor, whose parents are both of Irish descent - with his mother growing up in Mayo, will play multiple roles in the production, which has been adapted by BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Armando Iannucci and Olivier Award winner Sean Foley, who will also direct.
Kubrick’s comedy masterpiece tells the tale of a rogue US General who triggers a nuclear crisis.
“The idea of putting Dr Strangelove on stage is daunting, a huge responsibility,” Coogan admits.
“It’s also an exciting challenge, an opportunity to bring this timeless classic to a new audience.”
He added: “Knowing that I will be part of a creative team led by Sean Foley and Armando Iannucci means I will be working with the best people.
“Sean is a master of stage comedy and Armando and I started working with each other over 30 years ago.
“We made some memorable comedy together so it’s great to be collaborating with him once again.”
The production receives its world premiere in the West End, where it opens at Noël Coward Theatre on October 8 and runs for a strictly limited season until December 21.
Director Foley claims Coogan is the perfect actor to perform the “nightmare comedy of Strangelove”.
“I’m thrilled and excited to finally be able to say that one of our very finest actor-comedians, the amazingly talented Steve Coogan, is to play the lead in our world premiere stage version of Dr Strangelove,” he said.
“Across stand up, sitcom, tv, and film, and in both comic and dramatic roles, Steve has excelled being able to make people belly laugh even while they wince - sensing the maladroit, the madness, and the menace in his extraordinary characters… I can think of no better actor to convey the ’nightmare comedy’ of Strangelove.”
And his co-adaptor Iannucci, who describes the show as “a tale of our time” is in full agreement, claiming the production “needs one of the most amazing talents of our time to tell it”.
“I’ve seen Steve Coogan close-up for many years now, and can tell you that no-one gets right under the skin of a character the way he does,” he said.
“There’s a total focus on how each character would speak and move and even think, added to which is an instinctive comic timing and dramatic charisma that’s second to none.
“He’s able to get huge audiences to connect with the vulnerabilities and fine details of each character he brings to life.”
Iannucci added: “We’re all so delighted he’ll be bringing these amazing gifts to the stage for the hugely contrasting roles in ‘Dr Strangelove’ and I for one can’t wait to see Steve make them his own.
“It’s going to be a thrill for all of us.”
Tickets for Dr Strangelove go on-sale tomorrow, September 27, here.