James Norton has been set to lead the West End stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015, the emotional story follows four college friends in New York City. Ivo van Hove (Network, Hedda Gabler) is directing the 12-week run at the Harold Pinter Theatre which begins on March 25.
Also starring are Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson, Omari Douglas (It’s A Sin), Zach Wyatt (The Witcher), Elliot Cowan (The Crown), Zubin Varla (Tammy Faye), Nathalie Armin (Force Majeure) and Emilio Doorgasingh (The Kite Runner).
The quartet of friends is made up of aspiring actor Willem (Thompson), successful architect Malcolm (Wyatt), struggling artist JB (Douglas) and prodigious lawyer Jude (Norton). As ambition, addiction and pride threaten to pull the group apart, they always find themselves bound by their love for Jude and the mysteries of his past. But when those secrets come to light, they finally learn that to know Jude St Francis is to understand the limitless potential of love in the face of life.
This will be the English-language premiere of the play; van Hove previously staged it in Dutch.
“The book is a kind of a mystery, because it became a huge bestseller,” van Hove told BBC News. “It’s a little bit strange because it talks about cruel things, about a traumatic experience that haunts somebody for the rest of his life.” He also told the BBC that the runtime will be shortened to three hours and 40 minutes.
Sales of the novel were modest following its publication, but word of mouth spurred it to over 2.5 million copies. Ticket sales for the Harold Pinter production are on sale from today.