Luke Evans Returns to Theater as Historical Gay Figure in ‘Backstairs Billy’

Backstairs Billy - Luke Evans

Gay Welsh actor Luke Evans is making a comeback to the theater — after 16 years — as he plays a historical gay royal steward in a new comedy titled ‘Backstairs Billy’.

On July 2, Evans posted a video teaser about this theater return, and on July 5, details about his new play were revealed.

Backstairs Billy was the nickname given to William Tallon, a steward, and member of the late Queen Mother’s staff. He served the Queen Mother for 50 years, and the two have become close. Their bond was reminiscent of the close bond Queen Victoria made with his Scottish servant, John Brown (as depicted in the film ‘Mrs. Brown’ starring Dame Judi Dench).

 

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For three decades, Tallon was married to his partner, Reginald Wilcock, who is also a staff of the Queen Mother.

Tallon served the Queen Mother until her death in 2001. He then subsequently passed away in 2007 due to liver failure at the age of 72.

Evans will star alongside Penelope Wilton who will take the role of the Queen Mother.

‘Backstairs Billy’ is set in 1979 against a backdrop of civil unrest in the United Kingdom. It will also examine the relationship between the Queen Mother and Tallon.

Evans said that reading the script made him “giggle out loud so hard.”

“It’s just so entertaining and such a joyous story about these two people: the Queen Mother, who was super famous, but also Billy,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “He was always there and spent most of his life working for her.”

‘Backstairs Billy’ will run at the Duke of York’s theater from October 27 to January 27.

 

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