The Holy Terror

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 8 April 2004, Opened 14 April 2004, Closed 8 May 2004 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London

A major production of Simon Gray's play The Holy Terror in London starring Simon Callow and directed by Laurence Boswell.

Simon Gray's The Holy Terror is the moving and funny portrait of a flawed genius. Arrogant, manipulative and cunning, Mark Melon reigns supreme as king of the publishing jungle, where nothing stops a good story and ever more profitable book rights. But it's tough at the top, and when inner demons get hold, his fall from grace is one of majestic proportions. A passionate and absorbing journey, and a masterclass of psychological battles, this modern morality play has been completely rewritten by Simon Gray since it first appeared in London's West End under the title Melon at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from June to December 1987.

Simon Callow, who plays the central role of 'Mark Melon' says: "He's a buccaneer, dynamic and ruthless. A lot of people would like to see him get his comeuppance and he does, big time... Being by Simon Gray, it's told in a wonderfully funny and disturbing kind of way but with extraordinary panache and theatrical brilliance. It's a curious combination of extreme pain and comedy."

The cast for The Holy Terror in London features Simon Callow as 'Mark Melon' along with Geraldine Alexander as 'Kate', Lydia Fox as 'Samantha', Robin Soans and Tom Beard. The production is directed by Laurence Boswell. Laurence Boswell's West End credits include David Williamson's Up For Grabs (Wyndham's Theatre 2002). Simon Gray's West End theatre plays include The Last Cigarette, The Common Pursuit, Quartermaine's Terms, Old Masters, Butley, Life Support and Otherwise Engaged.

"Simon Gray's play about the dirty business of selling books is a strange affair that doesn't quite hit the spot. In the lead role, Simon Callow is at his powerful comic best, but it's hard to comprehend why we're supposed to give a damn about an elite professional clever dick getting his comeuppance. That said, Four Weddings and a Funeral star Callow is fabulous as the malevolent Mellon who takes over a traditional London publishing house and chucks out all the poetry and highbrow literature in favour of pamphlets on snack making, sex education manuals and books about bondage... Playing multiple roles as Mellon's various authors and editors, Tom Beard adds a nice light touch... To the reliable Mr Callow, top marks. But a single bravado performance does not a good play make." The Daily Mirror

"Fans of Simon Callow will be glad to see him back in the West End and firing on all cylinders in Simon Gray's The Holy Terror. He plays monstrously egotistical Mark Melon, who takes over a publishing house and commercialises it. Poetry is out and erotic fiction and self-help sex manuals are in. This wonderful office comedy has a healthy dollop of political incorrectness as he boozes for Britain, abuses his aspiring writers and bonks (his favourite word) his secretary... The cast, directed by Laurence Boswell, is spot-on, with excellent performances from Robin Soans as Melon's deaf publisher partner, Tom Beard, who plays four different writers, and the luscious Lydia Fox as the office totty. Larded with terrific jokes and a sizzling wit, The Holy Terror is superbly funny and malicious but less convincing as an anatomy of a breakdown." The Daily Express

"It is a revised version of an old play, Melon, which opened in 1988 with Alan Bates in the lead. His reportedly dazzling performance may have accounted for its success because the play, even in this overhauled form, is a decidedly uneven, broken-backed piece... A play which begins as a farcical satire of the publishing world suddenly thinks it's Othello, a study of sexual jealousy. What Gray thought he was doing is anyone's guess. Nevertheless, he is such a witty writer that, in spite of this overextended shambles, there are lines to enjoy. Simon Callow, too, can be funny." The Mail on Sunday

The Holy Terror in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 8 April 2004, opened on 14 April 2004 and closed 8 May 2004.