Show trial: casting and more dates announced for Wagatha Christie West End play

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

It was the British libel trial sensation of the decade: football WAGS Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney went to court over a sting operation conducted by Rooney, and a viral social media post, that accused Vardy of leaking her private details to the press.

The trial was set to come to the West End as a one-night-only play titled Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial on November 15 at Wyndham’s Theatre. But as the performance quickly sold out, and due to incredible demand, the play will now run for six more dates - on November 22 and 29, December 6, 13 and 20, and on January 10.

The actors playing the feuding WAGs have also just been announced: Lucy May Barker will play Vardy while Laura Dos Santos will play Rooney.

Barker is best known for her work on the stage and has played Mercy Lewis in The Crucible at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, toured the UK playing Clarissa in William Douglas Home’s 1955 play The Reluctant Debutante, and played Sophie in Mamma Mia! in both the 2016 UK tour and in the 2019 production at the West End’s Novello Theatre.

LAMDA-trained Santos, who was nominated for the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer Award in 2010, has previously played Mary Brenham in London-based Out of Joint Theatre Company’s Our Country’s Good and had TV roles in Doctor Who, Wallander, Bad Girls and The Bill.

Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial will be directed by Lisa Spirling (Wolfie, Describe The Night), adapted from seven days of High Court transcripts by Liv Hennessy (who was a Paines Plough’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting finalist) and produced by Eleanor Lloyd, who produced the five-year-running Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution adaption and is president of the Society of London Theatre.

Lucy May Barker is set to play Vardy while Laura Dos Santos will play Rooney (Handout / Vardy v Rooney:  The Wagatha Christie Trial)
Lucy May Barker is set to play Vardy while Laura Dos Santos will play Rooney (Handout / Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial)

The trial, which started in May 2022 and ran until July 2022, concluded with the court ruling against Vardy. Justice Karen Steyn said, according to Reuters, that Rooney’s claims were “substantially true”.

“It was not a case I ever sought or wanted,” Rooney said in a statement at the time of the verdict. “I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense ... when the money could have been far better spent helping others.”

The case is one of the most expensive British libel trials ever, too, with Vardy ordered to pay 90 per cent of Rooney’s legal fees totalling an estimated £1.5 million.

Producer Lloyd said: “‘The way the trial gripped the nation – myself included – demonstrated to me straight away how well this story would translate to the stage; the twists and turns of the case were so intriguing you couldn’t write it.”

With the trial seizing so many, and even being covered by news outlets throughout the world, it wasn’t long before a two-part Channel 4 TV drama was announced as being in the works, with Michael Sheen playing barrister David Sherborne.

Then, in August it was also announced that Coleen Rooney is set to star in a forthcoming tell-all three-part documentary about the trial, which will be streamed on Disney+.

At the Edinburgh TV Festival, Disney+ director of unscripted content, Sean Doyle, explained the choice to make the documentary, saying: “What a story, first and foremost... Everything we do has to be an amazing story that has amazing twists and turns in it” and that the Wagatha Christie case was a story people really wanted to hear.

Vardy V Rooney, The Wagatha Christie Trial will run for one night only on November 15 at 7.30 pm at Wyndham’s Theatre. Tickets can be found here