The full cast has been announced for the first production of the newly established Theatre Royal Haymarket Company, The Country Wife, which opens on 9 October (previews from 27 September).
Joining the previously confirmed David Haig, Fiona Glascott, Liz Crowther, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens are Catherine Bailey, Timothy Bateson, Tristan Beint, Janet Brown, Nicholas Day, Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, John Hopkins, David Shaw-Parker, Jo Stone-Fewings and Lucy Tregear.
William Wycherley’s restoration comedy The Country Wife tells the story of Horner (Stephens), a notorious man about town, and his ingenious scheme for the rampant and mass seduction of the women of London society. By spreading the false rumour of his own impotence, he gains the sympathy of the husbands of the town and, more importantly, free access to their wives. Meanwhile, the newly-married Pinchwife (Haig) desperately attempts to keep his naïve country bride from the clutches of predatory London bachelors. When she and Horner meet, events spiral out of control.
The Country Wife is the first of three plays directed by Jonathan Kent in the inaugural season of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company. Speaking at the launch event in July, Kent said the new company, established by the Haymarket’s producers Arnold M Crook and Nigel Everett, was “a really imaginative and brave and important new venture in the West End, which is to have a series of plays produced by the theatre itself, under the aegis of an artistic director with a governing aesthetic.”
Edward Bond’s The Sea and new musical Marguerite follow The Country Wife, which ends its run at the Haymarket on 12 January 2008. em>CB