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TV stars heading to Shrewsbury with brand new thriller

A star of TV hospital drama Casualty will be coming to Shrewsbury in the lead role of a new play.

George Rainsford
George Rainsford

George Rainsford, fresh from his role as Ethan Hardy in Casualty, and Jimmy Wilson in the medical drama Call the Midwife, will be starring as famous detective DSI Roy Grace in Wish You Were Dead.

He will be starring alongside TV and theatre legend Clive Mantle, who will star as Curtis when the UK tour kicks off in February 2023 and then travels across the country until the end of July. It will be coming to Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, from May 8-13, 2023.

The world stage premiere of Wish You Were Dead follows five successful stage plays and the critically acclaimed smash-hit primetime ITV series 'Grace', which are all based on the best-selling novels by the UK's number one crime author Peter James. This will be the sixth stage adaptation of James’ novels - making it the most successful crime thriller stage franchise since Agatha Christie.

Clive Mantle

Adapted exclusively for the stage, Wish You Were Dead kicks off a major nationwide UK tour in February 2023 at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. The production will then travel to a selection of theatres across the country until late July.

George Rainsford has for the last nine years been playing series regular Ethan Hardy in Casualty on BBC One, for which he won the Inside Soap Award for Best Drama Star in 2017.

Other Television credits include Holby City and Call the Midwife and his numerous theatre credits include productions at the National Theatre, RSC and the Old Vic.

Clive Mantle’s extensive range of credits across theatre, film and television, include an Olivier Award nominated performance in Of Mice and Men. He is perhaps best known for his TV work in shows such as Casualty, Holby City, Game of Thrones and The Vicar of Dibley and is also an award-winning children’s author.

George Rainsford said: “I can’t wait to be part of a theatre ensemble again and delve into Peter James’ thrilling criminal underworld. Getting to play Roy Grace, his most renowned detective creation, will be a huge honour. I am excited to meet audiences from all over the UK, and share with them some enthralling, edge-of-your-seat entertainment!”

Clive Mantle said: “I’m looking forward to terrifying… I mean entertaining… audiences up and down the length and breadth of Britain with ‘Wish You Were Dead’. Full of suspense and drama, there will be many funny moments too during the course of a captivating evening. There’s a clue there for starters. Roll up, roll up, all you amateur sleuths. Can’t wait to see you all.”

Writer Peter James said: “I am beyond thrilled with the wonderful star cast that we have assembled for the world stage premiere of Wish You Were Dead. I love the fact that so many people create their own image of my characters but for me, George and Clive are all inspired interpretations of how I see Roy Grace and Curtis and I am equally thrilled that Leon is returning to play Branson again. It is going to be very exciting to work with this great group of actors and I can’t wait for them to give audiences around the country, a thrilling, fun and hugely entertaining night at the theatre.”

Previous Peter James novels brought to the stage include: Looking Good Dead, which premiered last year starring Adam Woodyatt and Gaynor Faye; The House on Cold Hill, starring Joe McFadden and Rita Simons in 2019; Not Dead Enough, starring Shane Richie and Laura Whitmore in 2017; Dead Simple, starring Tina Hobley in 2015 and The Perfect Murder, starring Les Dennis and Claire Goose in 2014.

The gripping television series Grace was an immediate success with audiences when it launched on ITV in 2021, with almost nine million viewers tuning in to watch the primetime drama starring John Simm as DSI Roy Grace. Series two returned to TV screens in spring this year, with five more thrilling episodes being the most watched programme across all channels on each of the Sundays they were broadcast. A third series is now in the works.

The stage play of Wish You Were Dead follows DSI Roy Grace and Cleo Morey as they take a much-needed holiday together. They are hoping for a few days away from their dark worlds of murder and the mortuary. But their dream escape turns out to be the holiday from hell, as the past comes back to haunt them.

Produced by Josh Andrews and Peter James and adapted by award-winning writer Shaun McKenna, who has adapted the five previous Peter James plays, the production will also reunite the creative team from Looking Good Dead, with Jonathan O’Boyle directing, design by Michael Holt, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Max Pappenheim.

Peter James is a number one bestselling author of crime and thriller novels and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. He has topped the Sunday Times bestseller list 19 times and has achieved global book sales of over 21 million copies which have been translated into 37 languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page turners, he has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career which also included writing for TV and producing films. He has won over 40 awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a Bafta nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, which he executive produced.

Tickets from PeterJames.com

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