Nicholas Farrell, Iain Mitchell, Genevieve O’Reilly and Lee Ross have joined the previously announced Ben Barnes in the forthcoming stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong, which opens at the Comedy theatre in September.
The full cast of the Trevor Nunn-directed show also includes Owain Arthur, Billy Carter, Florence Hall, Paul Hawkyard, Gregg Lowe, Joe Coen, Jack Hawkins, James Staddon, Annabel Topham and Zoe Waites.
Published in 1993, Birdsong has sold more than two million copies in the UK alone and three million worldwide. It tells the story of Stephen Wraysford (Barnes) who, while staying as a guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, embarks on a passionate affair with his wife, Isabelle (O’Reilly). Years later, Stephen returns to the same part of France under very different circumstances, as a soldier during the Battle Of The Somme. As his men die around him, he turns to his enduring love for Isabelle for the strength to continue.
O’Reilly may be best known for her long-running role as Sarah Caulfield in BBC spy series Spooks, though her theatre credits include The Weir (Gate theatre, Dublin) and Richard II (Old Vic). Ross is also a well known television face, having enjoyed regular stints in EastEnders, Ashes To Ashes, Life On Mars and The Catherine Tate Show. On stage he has appeared in Whipping It Up (Ambassadors theatre), Some Voices and Country Music (both Royal Court).
Birdsong reunites Farrell and Mitchell, who appeared together in David Hare’s Stuff Happens at the National Theatre. Mitchell is a regular at the South bank venue, where he has appeared in productions including His Dark Materials, Edmond and The Madness Of George III, though he was most recently seen in the highly-acclaimed revival of La Cage Aux Folles. Farrell, who made his film debut in Chariots Of Fire, has an extensive stage CV including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Old Vic and Royal Court.
Barnes, who was revealed as the show’s lead earlier this year, is best known for his big screen work, having played the title roles in both Prince Caspian and Dorian Gray. He will return to cinema screens as Prince Caspian later this year when The Voyage Of The Dawntreader is released in December.
The Comedy theatre is currently home to La Bête, a comedy about a princess, a high-minded classical dramatist and a lowly street clown. It stars Joanna Lumley, former Frasier star David Hyde Pierce and the multi award-winning Mark Rylance, and runs until 4 September.