About The Best Man

The Best Man is an epigram-loaded play about the public and private faces of politicians. This star-studded affair is remarkably funny and relevant, and delivers with plenty of bite a realistic snapshot of American political life half a century ago.

Having toured the UK last year, Gore Vidal's political drama has made its West End premiere at the Playhouse Theatre

Two presidential party candidates are tied in a deceitful battle for nomination.

Where do negotiation and corruption begin and end?

And, who, in the end, will be ‘the best man’?


Martin Shaw, best known for his TV roles in ‘Judge John Deed’, ‘Inspector George Gently’ and ‘The Professionals’, leads the cast as ex-secretary of state William Russell. Shaw’s theatre credits include An Ideal Husband, Twelve Angry Men, A Man For All Seasons and The Country Girl.

Jeff Fahey, whose TV and film credits include ‘The Lawnmower Man’ and ‘Lost’, co-stars alongside Olivier Award-winning national treasure Maureen Lipman (CBE), known for her roles in ‘Educating Rita’ and in the Oscar Award-winning film ‘The Pianist’.

Joining them is Jack Shepherd, who is widely celebrated for his roles in ‘Wycliffe’ and ‘Bill Brand’; Honeysuckle Weeks who starred as Samantha Stewart in ‘Foyle’s War’ and Glynis Barber, best known for ‘EastEnders’, ‘Dempsey and Makepeace’, and ‘Night and Day’.

What's the story?

Ex-secretary of state William Russell is a scrupulous old-money intellectual haunted by a recent sexual indiscretion that threatens both his marriage and his career. Senator Joe Cantwell is Russell’s opposite, a self-made entrepreneur from humble beginnings, who believes he is the people’s candidate. Cantwell also happens to be wickedly ambitious. These two contenders compete for the support of the outgoing president, and resort to mudslinging in a very public arena.


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The Best Man Performance Dates & Times

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Running time

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Now Starring

Maureen Lipman
Martin Shaw

Playhouse Theatre

Find out more about the venue for your show: Directions, Transport options and facilities.

Where is The Best Man?

Northumberland Avenue London WC2N 5DE
  • Nearest Bus stop: (Whitehall) 3, 12, 24, 53, 88, 91, 159, 453; (Strand) 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 29, 87, 139, 176
  • Parking: Trafalgar (10mins)
  • Nearest Night Bus: (Whitehall) 12, 53, 88, 159, 453, N2, N3, N5, N18, N20, N44, N52, N91, N97, N109, N136, N381; (Strand) 6, 23, 139, 176, N9, N11, N13, N15, N21, N26, N29, N47, N87, N89, N155, N343, N550, N551
  • Nearest Tube: District, Bakerloo, Northern, Circle Lines
  • Directions:

    (2mins) Follow Embankment Place right under the bridge; turn right onto Northumberland Avenue and you will see the theatre.

  • Nearest Station: Charing Cross Station


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible