Casting for the first major revival of TS Eliot’s The Cocktail Party in more than 25 years has been announced, with a line-up of theatre regulars in place to bring the absurdist drama back to the stage including double Olivier Award winner Marcia Warren.
Warren, who makes her stage return following 2011’s West End revival of The Ladykillers, will be joined in the cast by Helen Bradbury, Richard Dempsey, Hilton McRae, Chloe Pirrie, Christopher Ravenscroft and John Wark.
The company will lead Abbey Wright’s production of the rarely performed drama from 14 September to 10 October at London’s iconic Coronet: the new permanent home for the Print Room.
Warren, who won Olivier Awards for her roles in the National Theatre’s Humble Boy and Stepping Out in the West End, will play Julie, one of a number of guests invited to Edward and Lavinia Chamberlayne’s cocktail party. What the guests don’t know, however, is Lavinia walked out four days beforehand but is about to make an unexpected appearance with a mysterious guest in tow.
Dempsey and Bradbury, who will play the central couple in crisis, are both regular faces on stage, Downton Abbey’s Dempsey appearing most recently in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the West End, and Bradbury in Versailles at the Donmar Warehouse and The Last Of The Duchess at Hampstead Theatre.
McRae, arguably best known for his many film appearances in everything from Return Of The Jedi to The French Lieutenant’s Woman, has appeared in West End shows including Mamma Mia!, Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, but most recently appeared in the National Theatre’s Timon Of Athens.
Rounding up the cast, British Independent Film Award winner Pirrie last appeared in Men Should Weep at the National Theatre, RSC regular Ravenscroft can currently be seen in The Old Vic’s High Society and Wark’s London credits include The Winter Guest at the Almeida Theatre and the Arcola Theatre’s The Only Girl In The World.
The intriguing Tony Award-winning play will be the first production to be staged in the Print Room’s new main stage, following its move to the Coronet from its smaller Notting Hill space where the company was founded in 2010.
The company will be monopolising its new space to the full, with a pop-up 1950s cocktail bar being created in the stalls to bring the spirit and setting of The Cocktail Party to life.