The REP presents the world première of Rebus: Long Shadows, the latest story in Ian Rankin’s legendary detective series from 20 September to 6 October. The play was adapted for theatre by Rona Munro, is directed by Robin Lefevre and stars Charles Lawson (Jim McDonald in Coronation St).

Charles Lawson, who plays Rebus, said: “This is one of those parts that you don’t turn down. Rebus is an old-fashioned detective who is, by necessity, brought out of retirement. Things start to be revealed about an incident that happened in 1992, and the evidence could land him in deep brown stuff. It is a thrilling piece of theatre.”

Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels have dominated the detective fiction market, with the subsequent television series, featuring John Hannah and Ken Stott, ensuring the detective’s legendary status. Now, alongside award-winning playwright Rona Munro, Ian Rankin brings his beloved creation to the stage for the very first time.

Detective Inspector John Rebus is retired but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh. Whisky helped but now he’s denying himself that pleasure. But when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he’s back on the case and off the wagon.

Rebus will need help from his ex-colleagues but one of them is already looking for him. DI Siobhan Clarke (Cathy Tyson) was Rebus’ greatest ally on the force but is worried that his past actions may stop them finally convicting a dangerous killer. Soon Rebus is caught between two cases and can only turn to one person to help him – the man he spent his career trying to arrest.

Rebus in rehearsals. Photo credit: Robert Day

Ian Rankin said: “I’ve long wanted to see John Rebus on a theatre stage, and it was such a privilege to work with Rona Munro in fashioning a brand new story that could best be told ‘in the flesh’. Having lived with Rebus for over thirty years, I know that he has cast many long shadows, but this time those same shadows threaten to engulf him in a story that is tense, gripping, deep and thoughtful. I hope audiences will agree!”

Playwright Rona Munro said: “Adapting one of the most iconic characters in detective fiction was both daunting and exhilarating. It was a collaborative process that completely depended on Ian Rankin’s generosity in sharing the man he made and knows so well. We hope that audiences who also know Rebus will see him live, and that audiences who’ve never met the man are in for an exciting introduction.”

Catch Rebus: Long Shadows at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 20 September – 6 October. Tickets start at £15, with previews from £10*.

Book online at or call the box office on 0121 236 4455.

Watch Ian Rankin discuss the play.

*Transaction fees may apply