Stage is set for Damned good version of Leeds United play

Luke Dickson as Brian Clough in the new production of The Damned United.
Luke Dickson as Brian Clough in the new production of The Damned United.
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A stage play based on Leeds United-themed novel The Damned United is set to tackle a series of high-profile away fixtures.

Red Ladder Theatre Company’s co-adaptation of the novel won rave reviews during a sold-out five-week stay at Leeds’s West Yorkshire Playhouse last year.

Brian Clough during his short stay at Elland Road.

Brian Clough during his short stay at Elland Road.

Now the Red Ladder team is taking an “intimate and stripped-back” reworking of the play on a tour that includes a month-long run at this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

And Red Ladder artistic director Rod Dixon cannot wait to return to the stage with the story of Brian Clough’s doomed 44 days as United manager in 1974.

He said: “We’re thrilled to be creating a new production of The Damned United. This ingenious story, with Clough as its tragic anti-hero, lends itself brilliantly to a gritty and stripped-back staging.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming wider audiences to this work and getting back to our roots with a production which we can take out on tour, including a major run at the Edinburgh Fringe, the flagship event in the arts calendar.”

The production will be at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 2 to 28.

Other dates on the tour include this weekend’s Loom festival at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, Pocklington Arts Centre on June 1 and Grove Hall in South Kirkby, near Pontefract, on June 2.

The new version of the play is being presented by Red Ladder in association with Unity Theatre Liverpool.

It will feature a three-man cast, with Luke Dickson portraying Clough and David Chafer playing his one-time assistant Peter Taylor. Jamie Smelt will perform all other roles.

Written by Ossett-born David Peace, The Damned United was first published in 2006 and was later made into a film starring Michael Sheen.

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