Rupert Goold will bring his acclaimed production of The Merchant Of Venice, originally stage by the RSC, to the Almeida Theatre as part of a winter/spring season that includes new work by popular playwrights Mike Bartlett and Simon Stephens.
The season will see Artistic Director Goold continue to reinvent the intimate Islington space and look further afield, taking programming to The May Fair Hotel for a short run of Wallace Shawn’s The Fever and “radically reconfiguring” the theatre for the world premiere of Bartlett’s new play Game.
Opening the season from 5 December to 14 February, Goold’s Las Vegas take on The Merchant Of Venice will see acclaimed actor and former Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre Ian McDiarmid lead the cast as Shylock.
The acid bright production, which features a whirlwind of glitter, gambling and greenbacks, played to critical acclaim at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2011. Many of the original cast will return to their roles for this London reprisal including Jamie Beamish, Rebecca Brewer, Susannah Fielding, Scott Handy, Caroline Martin and Emily Plumtree.
Running alongside the production from 7 January to 7 February, Almeida Associate Director Robert Icke (1984, Mr Burns) will take the theatre’s work outside the building when Shawn’s monologue The Fever plays to an intimate audience of just 28 in a suite at the luxury The May Fair Hotel.
Starring Almeida Theatre regular Tobias Menzies (Cloud Nine, Platonov), who was most recently seen in the BBC’s hit series The Honourable Woman, actor and playwright Wallace’s monologue is set in a hotel in a distant city where a man is searching for answers. Exploring our relationship to our world and our wealth, The Fever asks if everything – and everyone – has a price.
The world premiere of Game, which marks the latest collaboration between Goold and the Olivier Award-winning Bartlett following the huge success of King Charles III, follows from 23 February to 4 April.
Game will invite audiences to spy on a family as they explore a dangerous new way to live in the face of the current housing crisis. Its radical staging will come courtesy of acclaimed director/design team Sasha Wares and Miriam Buether, whose work together has included Bartlett’s My Child, Sucker Punch and the much acclaimed Wild Swans at the Young Vic.
Bringing the season to a close from 10 April to 23 May is Carmen Disruption, a reinvention of Bizet’s Carmen from another Olivier Award-winning playwright, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time’s Stephens.
Making his Almeida writing debut following his many successful plays including Pornography, Motortown, Port and his hugely successful adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for the Young Vic, Carmen Disruption will explore the possibility of love in a fractured urban world.
Taking Bizet’s original opera as inspiration, the piece will be set in the opulent grandeur of a European city where a renowned singer abandons the opera house for the truth of the streets. The production will be directed by Constellations’ Michael Longhurst.
Goold’s second season at the helm will follow the theatre’s current verbatim drama Little Revolution, which plays until 4 October, and the UK premiere of David Cromer’s production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
Away from its Islington home, King Charles III, the latest of Goold’s productions to transfer to the West End from his first season, is now playing at the Wyndham’s Theatre.