Richard Briers, Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale are among the performers taking to the stages of the National Theatre at the beginning of 2010.
The trio are joined by Paul Ready and Michelle Terry in the March revival of Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance, which will be directed by National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner and staged in the Olivier theatre. Boucicault’s 1841 comedy is a tale of tangled love lives, as Sir Harcourt Courtley is lured away from London by the promise of a young, rich bride, only to fall for her foxhunting cousin Lady Gay Spanker. Meanwhile, his disguised son arrives, fleeing from creditors.
Russell Beale and Shaw are National Theatre regulars; Russell Beale recently appeared in Major Barbara and Much Ado About Nothing, while Shaw is currently starring in Mother Courage And Her Children. Briers, by contrast, is a rare London stage performer. He was due to bid farewell to live theatre in the cast of the current production of Endgame, but withdrew from the show when fellow cast member Adrian Scarborough left to join the cast of The Habit Of Art. There has been no confirmation as to whether London Assurance will now be the last opportunity to see Briers perform live.
Laurence Olivier Award-winner Conleth Hill stars opposite Pip Carter, Paul Higgins and Justine Mitchell in The White Guard, which opens in the Lyttelton theatre in March. In a new version by Andrew Upton, Mikhail Bulgakov’s play tells of chaos amid the Russian civil war as a ragtag band prepares to fight for the White Guard. The piece is directed by Howard Davies, and follows his previous Russian epics, Burnt By The Sun and Philistines.
The Cottesloe theatre opens its 2010 programme with Tamsin Oglesby’s new comedy Really Old, Like Forty Five, which is directed by Anna Mackmin. A tale of aging and how society is coping with an increasingly elderly population, it follows three generations of a family put to the test by all the problems that come with age.
Really Old, Like Forty Five reunites cast members Amelia Bullmore and Paul Ritter, who last performed together in the acclaimed Old Vic production of The Norman Conquests. Also among the cast are Marcia Warren, Gawn Grainger, Paul Bazely, Tanya Franks, Lucy May Barker, Thomas Jordan, Michela Meazza and Judy Parfitt.
The National Theatre spring also includes a 10-performance visit from Inue Ellams performing his biographical, free-flowing narrative The 14th Tale, and a version of Twelfth Night aimed specifically at primary school age children.