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  • Writer's pictureJenna Cockburn

NEWS: Sir Ian Rankin's Rebus: A Game Called Malice Receives Scottish Premiere at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre

Ian Rankin and Gray O'Brien talk Rebus: A Game Called Malice

Daniel Schumann and Lee Dean in association with Cambridge Arts Theatre present


By Ian Rankin and Simon Reade

Ian Rankin’s new Rebus story exclusively on stage

Following the success of the critically acclaimed BBC television series Daniel Schumann and Lee Dean today announce the return to the stage of Ian Rankin’s much-loved detective Rebus, in the stage production of Rebus: A Game Called Malice by Ian Rankin and Simon Reade, with Gray O’Brien in the title role. The play centres around a murder mystery game, but with rising suspicions


Loveday Ingram directs Gray O’Brien (John Rebus), Abigail Thaw (Stephanie Jeffries) and Billy Hartman (Jack Fleming). A co-production with Cambridge Arts Theatre it opens there on 29 August, before a 12 venue tour, which launches at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and completing its run at Lighthouse, Poole on 30 November.

"A splendid dinner party in an Edinburgh mansion concludes with a murder mystery game created by the hostess. A murder needs to be solved. But the guests have secrets of their own, threatened by the very game they are playing. And among them is Inspector John Rebus. True crime is his calling. Is he playing an alternative game, one to which only he knows the rules? There are suspects, clues and danger with every twist and turn - and a shocking discovery will send this game called ‘Malice' hurtling towards a gasp-inducing conclusion."

Ian Rankin talks Rebus: A Game Called Malice

Ian Rankin is 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 recent BBC television series ensuring the detective’s legendary status.


Gray O'Brien talk Rebus: A Game Called Malice

Perhaps best known for his roles in Coronation Street, Peak Practice and Casualty, Gray O’Brien plays 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 as Terry Woods), Dal Y Mellt, The Trick, Keeping Faith, Pobol Y Cwm, In Suspicious Circumstances, 99-1 and A Touch of Frost.


Perhaps best known for her role in 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.

Book your tickets now!

The launch of Rebus: A Game Called Malice at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre

I was invited along to the Launch of Rebus: A Game Called Malice at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

10 – 14 September

Box Office: 0131 529 6000 /


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