We've long known that Lee loves to challenge himself, never content to sit back and let life happen to him, so when he first mentioned back in February, at a Meet & Greet in Blackburn before the second show of his fabulous My Story tour, that he hoped to produce his first play this summer, I was more excited than surprised! His own excitement was obvious as he talked about the great script he'd found, a three-hander, confirming in response to a question from my friend that he would star as well as produce. They'd start small, but if it went well, might take it on tour, or even to the West End. He spoke of it during the show too, and in press and stage interviews since... each time adding a little more detail.
Today the full story came out with the formal announcement that he and Chelmsford Theatres would be co-producing the powerful, award-winning play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me. The playwright, Frank McGuiness has given his personal approval for this new production, which will play for one week only in the venue's Cramphorn Studio, an intimate space in which this intense drama will sit perfectly.
Inspired by the stories of Brian Keenan, John McCarthy, and Terry Waite, who were kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s, the play tells the story of an Irish journalist (Edward, played by Richard Foster - the erstwhile drama teacher at least partly responsible for Lee getting the acting bug when he cast him as Danny Zuko in a school production of Grease - thank you Richard!), an English academic (Michael, played by David Streames) and an American doctor (Adam, played by Lee) who are kidnapped and held hostage by unseen captors. A little different to Lee's first role on the stage of the Civic Theatre in Pineapple Poll back in 2001!
I wish Lee every success with this new venture, of which he proudly says: "I've been looking for a play I feel passionate about to make a return to the stage in a dramatic role. The story of 'Someone Who'll Watch Over Me' seems more relevant than ever, and I'm thrilled to be bringing this production to a new audience here in Chelmsford."
UPDATE: 09/06/2019 See Lee chatting to BBC Look East about the production on the eve of opening night.
UPDATE: 11/06/2019 The reviews are starting to come in - read more!
Published: 22/03/2019; last updated: 11/06/2019