After months of media speculation, theatre company West Star Productions were excited to confirm today that a stage production of the epic romantic drama Brokeback Mountain will hit London’s West End this December, and will star occasional comedian and presenter Les Dennis and TV personality Keith Chegwin as the leading roles.
Brokeback Mountain, originally a short-story by Annie Proulx, and now a critically acclaimed multi-award winning film, depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two men in the American West, and first hit our screens back in 2005, but until now has never been adapted for the stage. West Star Productions has confirmed that rehearsals will begin as early as next week, with the first showing planned for the 1st of December at the prestigious Olivier Theatre, London.
Although the initial public response, on the whole, has been positive, some have raised questions around the casting choices, after the production company admitted they had budget restraints. Theatre goer Susan Morrice said: "I was excited to hear my favourite film will now be on stage, but I was a little taken aback with the casting decisions. I'm struggling to picture Cheggers as a rugged, handsome cowboy, plus Les is getting on a bit. And as for the two of them developing an intimate relationship, I'm not sure I'd be rushing to witness that".
Les Dennis, whose career has been revitalised by funny-man Ricky Gervais, has spoken of his excitement at being cast as main character Ennis Del Mar, originally portrayed in the movie by the late Heath Ledger. “I’m extremely thrilled to be cast as a main character in such an exciting production", said Dennis. "Ennis is a deeply confused man that has to battle against social prejudice and his own masculinity to accept the advances of fellow rancher, Jack Twist (Chegwin). It's a natural fit for me. I’m not saying that the role of Ennis Del Mar was originally written with me in mind, but take the ‘D’ out of Dennis and what do you get?"
Christopher Biggins and Vinnie Jones, who have been cast as the ranch horse, were equally as delighted to accept parts in the hotly anticipated stage adaption. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to take on a more challenging role”, said hard-man Jones. “I’ve never done any stage acting before, and I'm currently gauging trust levels with Biggins after he insisted on being the back-end of the horse".
Chegwin, who will play hotheaded Wyoming ranch kid Jack Twist, has insisted that, despite not actually seeing the film yet, is thrilled to be playing a character so integral to the story. “Although I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, I’m thrilled to have been gifted such an important part in the play. Since I was a boy I’ve always wanted to play a leading character in a cowboy story; I mean, who hasn’t? I can't wait for Les and I to get stuck-in to this fishing trip camping scene everyone keeps talking about”.