Saul Jaffe has a heavyweight hit with his show The Elephant Man

Actor and writer Saul Jaffe is earning international acclaim for his one-man show The Elephant Man.

Mr Jaffe co-wrote and stars in the play, an adaptation of the true story of Joseph Merrick, who suffered from a rare condition that caused parts of his body to grow uncontrollably. The play explores the loneliness and discrimination that accompanied his deformity.

Mr Jaffe’s performance received five-star reviews at the Edinburgh festival. He has been invited to perform to perform at this year’s Brits Off Broadway festival — a showcase of what’s hot in British theatre.

Mr Jaffe, 39, tells People: “People know the story and expect the play to be very downbeat, but there is actually quite a lot of comedy. The Elephant Man isn’t just a victim or a freak show. I think we got the balance just right.” Mr Jaffe does not wear make-up or masks. He uses body movements to portray Merrick’s deformities. He also plays a range of other characters.

Last updated: 8:35am, June 15 2009