News Story

Following the success of the critically acclaimed BBC television series, Sir Ian Rankin’s much-loved detective, Rebus makes his Oxford stage debut in a brand-new production of Rebus: A Game Called Malice by Ian Rankin and Simon Reade, with Gray O’Brien in the title role.

Loveday Ingram directs Gray O’Brien (John Rebus), Abigail Thaw (Stephanie Jeffries) and Billy Hartman (Jack Fleming), who will tour to Oxford Playhouse from Tuesday 29 October to Saturday 2 November.

The three actors head the cast of this thrilling murder mystery, set in an Edinburgh mansion. With secrets of their own, the guests are threatened by the very game they are playing created by their hostess. Among them is the detective himself, who must navigate suspects, clues and danger at every twist and a turn before a shocking discovery sends this game called ‘Malice' hurtling towards a gasp-inducing conclusion…

Perhaps best known for his roles in Coronation Street, Peak Practice and Casualty, Gray O’Brien plays the title character, John Rebus. His theatre credits include Educating Rita (Perth Theatre), Catch Me If You Can, The Case of the Frightened Lady, The Sound of Music, Dead Simple (UK tour), Sleuth (Apollo Theatre), The Magistrate (Pitlochry Festival Theatre). Television credits include Coronation Street (as series regular Tony Gordon), Casualty (as series regular Richard McCaid), Peak Practice (as series regular Dr Tom Deneley), Shakespeare and Hathaway, The Loch, Titanic – Blood and Steel and Doctor Who – Voyage of the Damned. Film credits include The Wasting and The Daniel Connection.

Billy Hartman returns to the role of Jack Fleming, having created it for the stage in 2023. His other theatre credits include Gypsy (Savoy Theatre), The Confessions of Gordon Brown (Traverse Theatre and Scottish tour), The Little Match Girl (Orange Tree Theatre), Homework (Battersea Arts Centre), and Oliver! (Sadlers’ Wells). Television credits include Emmerdale (as series regular Terry Woods), Dal Y Mellt, The Trick, Keeping Faith, Pobol Y Cwm, In Suspicious Circumstances, 99-1 and A Touch of Frost.

Most recognisable for her role in the Oxford-based Endeavour, Abigail Thaw plays Stephanie Jeffries. Her theatre credits include Anthropology, The Strange Death of John Doe (Hampstead Theatre), Julius Caesar (Sheffield Crucible), The Cutting of the Cloth (Southwark Playhouse), Juliet and her Romeo (Bristol Old Vic) and Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe and BAM Harvey Theater, NYC). Her television credits include Endeavour (as series regular Dorothea Frazil), Miss Scarlet and the Duke, Sister Boniface and The Nevers. Film credits include The Penny Dropped and The Inbetweeners 2.

This thrilling new story, created exclusively for the stage, is written by Sir Ian Rankin, the multimillion-copy award-winning bestseller of over thirty novels worldwide and creator of John Rebus. His books have been translated into thirty-six languages and have been adapted for radio, the stage and the screen. His Rebus novels have dominated the detective fiction market with the ensuing television series ensuring the detective’s legendary status.

Loveday Ingram’s directing credits include Dinner with Groucho (Dublin Theatre Festival, Belfast International Festival and Arcola Theatre), The Girl on the Train (Salisbury Playhouse) The Rover (RSC), Fatal Attraction (UK tour), My One and Only, Pal Joey (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Blue Room (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (Liverpool Playhouse), Julius Caesar (Storyhouse Theatre), Boston Marriage, Hysteria (Dublin).

Produced by Daniel Schumann and Lee Dean in association with Cambridge Arts Theatre, Rebus: A Game Called Malice follows Rankin’s first stage production of Rebus: Long Shadows which opened at Birmingham Rep before touring nationally, and the BBC dramatisation of Rebus which began in May of this year.