Mr. Bean star Rowan Atkinson is returning to the London stage to star in the late Simon Gray's upcoming West End play Quartermaine's Terms.

The 58 year old funnyman won't be playing for laughs - Atkinson calls the play, which is set in an English language school, "the most... overtly serious role" he has ever undertaken.

The new show will open at the Wyndham's Theatre later this week (ends01Feb13) and marks the star's first appearance on stage since he played Fagin in the musical Oliver! in 2009.