For a new generation, Lenny Henry is the guy from the hotel advertisements who pops up on Comic Relief every other year. To those who can recall the eighties and early nineties with any clarity, Henry is still associated with anarchic, family comedy - whether on Saturday morning staple Tiswas or his own various sketch shows - and, for many, remembered as one of the first black UK comics to break into prime time.
Lenny Henry's place in the nation's affections has been hard earned but he surprised many with his award-winning turn as Othello in 2009 and the Brummie's returning to Shakespeare in one of this winter's hottest tickets; as Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors at The National's Olivier Theatre.
Shakespeare's comic tale of two sets of twins separated at birth opened earlier this week and runs until April. The four twins find themselves in the same city for one mad day of mistaken identity and confusion, not least for Antipholus and his servant Dromio, strangers to the ways and wiles of the metropolis.
Consistently recognised by strangers, the two visitors become the recipients of baffling, unexpected gifts and apparently unwarranted hostility. Meanwhile, Aegeon, father to Antipholus, has been captured while looking for his son and, an illegal immigrant, has been sentenced to death (at sunset) for his criminal status. It just wouldn't be Shakespeare without someone being sentenced to death at sunset.
Amid The Bard's comedic chaos and subterfuge, Lenny Henry, as Antipholus, seems perfectly cast to make sense of it all and, perhaps, spare his father before the sun sets on one crazy day.
We have tickets available now for performances until 1st April 2012, priced from £26 for the Circle, rising to £45 for the best stalls. The performance on 1st March will be broadcast to selected cinemas around the UK.