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Koki Mitani’s The Last Laugh (Warai no Daigaku) to play in London’s West End
The Last Laugh
Known for his witty situation comedies and sometimes referred to as Japan’s Neil Simon, popular playwright/director Koki Mitani will have one of his representative works, Warai no Daigaku (The Last Laugh) performed in English translation in London’s West End in a long-run engagement beginning this March. Although Mitani’s works has been performed in Russia in Russian translation in the past, this will be the first time for one of his works to have a long-run performance in English.
Warai no Daigaku premiered in 1996 as a two-person play set in the time of harsh censorship during World War II and involving an hard-fisted government censor names Sakisaka and a comedy scriptwriter named Tsubaki who has dedicated his life to comedy and writes for a comedy stage company called Warai no Daigaku (“University of Laughs” as literal English title). This single-set comedy takes place in a police interrogation room where the two exchange accusations and denials. This popular play was made into a movie in Japan in 2005, directed by Mamoru Hoshi.
The London production is jointly produced by acclaimed Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer Bill Kenwright and Japan’s Parco Co., Ltd. The English adaptation has been penned by British playwright Richard Harris under the title The Last Laugh. The production is directed by Bob Tomson. The setting and the characters are the same as Mitani’s Japanese play and the acting is by British actors.
Prior to the start of its March run in the West End, the play will be performed at The Theatre Royal, Windsor from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. After that it will tour to several venues around the U.K. with plans calling for the start of performances at a theatre in London’s West End from mid-March. The West End theatre is not yet decided.
+The Last Laugh
Original play: Koki Mitani
English adaptation: Richard Harris
Director: Bob Tomson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Roger Lloyd Pack
Art: Michael Pavelka
Lighting design: Mark Henderson
Presented by: Bill Kenwright in association with PARCO Co., Ltd., Tokyo
Date: Jan. 30 to Feb. 3
The Theatre Royal, Windsor
+The Last Laugh – UK National Tour
Feb 5-10
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Feb 13-17
Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes
Feb 19-24
Richmond Theatre, Outer London
Feb 26- March 3
Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne
*In March at West End TBA