West End theatre

Jake Gyllenhaal to return to West End stage after 18 years

Jake Gyllenhaal
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Jake Gyllenhaal said it was the "alchemy" he has with his co-star that drew him back to the West End for the first time in 18 years.

The Oscar nominee, who celebrates his 39th birthday today, last trod the boards in the UK in 2002 in Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth.

He will star opposite Annaleigh Ashford as the French post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat in Sunday In The Park With George, which follows the painter as he completes his most famous work, A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte.

Gyllenhaal first appeared in the musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine at New York's City Centre in 2016, before transferring to the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in 2017.

He said he and Ashford had to reunite on stage because there is "no other combination" that could recreate what they achieved in the US.

He said: "We only had 10 weeks to do it because we could fit it within that period of time. It always felt unfinished.

"The special thing about this show is that there is something about the alchemy of these two characters - about the love story between the two of them.

"I don't think you can switch that up and get the right thing again, in my opinion, and so we had a lot of things that were unfinished and we wanted to finish them up. "We have come to the best place to do that, to London, to do it together again."

Team who saved Death of Salesman up for award

Death of salesman
BRINKHOFF/MOGENBURG

The production team who ensured the show did go on after part of a West End theatre ceiling collapsed during Death Of A Salesman are in the running for a major stage award.

The crew of The Young Vic, where the play originated, took action after part of the Piccadilly Theatre's ceiling fell down.

Its venue The Cut was made a suitable home for the production, including a new stage being built in less than 24 hours.

The Piccadilly Theatre later reopened after it was discovered a burst pipe caused the collapse, injuring several people.

The Young Vic production team has been nominated for achievement in technical theatre at The Stage Awards 2020.

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