Cole Porter’s 1948 musical Kiss Me, Kate will open at The Barbican theatre this June, starring Adrian Dunbar, Stephanie J Block, and Peter Davison all caught up in a very Shakespearean love triangle.


The Line of Duty star is leading the cast as Fred Graham, a stage actor and director still in love (however begrudgingly) with his ex-wife and co-star Lilli Vanessi (Block). Meanwhile, he has a romantic rival in Davison’s character, General Harrison Howell, who is Lilli’s fiancé.

In this new adaptation, Dunbar is getting to show his musical theatre chops for the very first time, whereas Davison has found himself very much on the bench.

"I don’t think I’m singing at all in this," he laughed, "Usually my limit is one song per musical, but now in this part they’ve actually stopped me singing at all… I don’t know if that’s a bad sign!"

The Doctor Who actor joked that they’d desperately asked him "please don’t sing!". Although anyone familiar with the West End scene will know of his many musical appearances, including as King Arthur in Spamalot, Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde, and Herbie in the Imelda Staunton production of Gypsy.

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Speaking exclusively to – alongside Dunbar and cast member Hammed Animashaun – Davison went on to say how excited he was to be back at the West End: "We’re all stage actors really."

Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie J Block facing each other on the poster for Kiss Me, Kate
Kiss me, Kate runs from the 4th June until 14th September at the Barbican Theatre.

“In my time, everyone was trained for the stage and you get easily distracted by TV and film because, well, it looks very nice on the bank balance, but really we’re just going back to what we’re trained for.”

Despite the obvious draws of TV and film, this sentiment was backed up by Dunbar who said: "You always want to go back to the stage, it’s a live gig, and it’s the transference you get from the audience that you don’t get from TV."

Animashaun, who plays one of the show’s infamous gangsters, added: "I started on stage and my love for the stage has never faltered. It’s always like coming back home."

Ahead of Kiss Me Kate's run, which starts in less than two weeks, the three cast members confessed to being eager, but also a bit nervous about bringing the show together. Davison said: "[Bartlett Sher, director] said at the read through 'I want to keep it quite fluid,' which is exciting and terrifying at the same time."

He continued: "It’s nice to keep things fluid because you can bring in lots of new ideas, but at some point you have to pin it down, and we’ll certainly get to that."

While Animashaun said: "We’re definitely on the right track 100%. It’s always hard to gauge where we are but we’re having a really good time in the rehearsal room, and as soon as we get to that first preview we’ll be alright."

The A Midsummer Night's Dream actor also spoke about being on the stage alongside the two TV stars: "I never thought I would be doing something as big as this with huge names. It’s a blessing. I’m always learning and this is honestly like a dream come true."

Check out Adrian Dunbar: "If it all goes wrong, you can blame me" and what to do in London this weekend. And how to get Calamity Jane UK tour tickets.

How to buy Kiss Me, Kate tickets

Kiss Me, Kate will run from 4th June to 14th September 2024 at The Barbican.

You can find tickets across a range of sites, but the best price we’ve found is at TodayTix and LOVE Theatre for £25. However, you can also find tickets at Ticketmaster and London Theatre Direct.


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