After months of media speculation, theatre company West Star Productions confirmed today that a musical stage production of 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 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 written as a musical for the stage. Although the initial response in the world of theatre has been positive, some have raised questions around the way budget restraints may have influenced the casting. Public Relations Officer for West Star Productions admitted: "After a few bumpy years, we simply haven't got the budget to approach the big names, so we could only offer the parts to actors willing to work for food".
Susan Morrice, a regular theatre goer and fan of the multi-award winning film, said: ‘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 in a tent, I'm not sure I'd be rushing to witness that.’
Dennis, however, said that he was ‘thrilled' have been chosen. ‘Ennis Del Mar is a deeply confused man who has to battle against social prejudice and his own masculinity to accept the advances of a fellow rancher. It's a natural fit for me; I'm not saying that the part was 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 budget musical adaption. Hard man Jones, who has never appeared in a musical before, will begin by gauging trust levels with Biggins, who has been 'worryingly persistent' on being the back-end of the horse.
Chegwin, who will play hotheaded Wyoming ranch kid Jack Twist, said: ‘Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with the storyline as I haven't had a chance to see the film yet, but ever since I was a boy I’ve always wanted to play a leading character in a cowboy story - who hasn’t? I can't wait for Les and me to get stuck-in to this fishing trip camping scene everyone keeps talking about.’