Brendan Coyle, of 'Downton Abbey,' performs at Goodman Theater in 'St. Nicholas'

Actor Brendan Coyle, known best as Mr. Bates from "Downton Abbey," is making his Chicago theater debut.

Coyle played a lame valet that made ladies swoon in "Downton Abbey," but will now play a broke-down theater critic with vampire friends in Conor McPherson's "St. Nicholas" at the Goodman Theatre.

"He then becomes something of a recruit for this coven," Coyle said of his character. "And it's a very modern day take for vampirism."

The play - a two hour monologue - is not particularly kind to theater critics.

"There's something about the metaphor, the vampiric metaphor, you suck on the life blood of other artists," Coyle said.

This is Coyle's first turn on a Chicago stage.

"It's a great theater town, we know this to be a great theatre town, thankfully they extended an invitation," he said.

Coyle scored an Emmy nomination during the 6 seasons of "Downton Abbey" as John Bates. He also became an unlikely sex symbol.

And yes, Mr. Bates is appearing in the new "Downton Abbey" feature film that will hit screens in September.

"St. Nicholas" runs at the Goodman Theatre through Jan 27.
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