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Anne Marie-Duff (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Anne Marie-Duff (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

Duff makes Donmar return in Bérénice

Published 27 April 2012

Anne-Marie Duff will return to the Donmar Warehouse later this year to star in celebrated author Alan Hollinghurst’s new version of Bérénice, following Lyndsey Turner’s Donmar directorial debut with Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come!

The director of hit show Posh, which transfers into the West End next month following its Royal Court debut in 2011, Turner will direct Philadelphia, Here I Come! at the Covent Garden venue from 26 July.

Friel’s iconic play paints a touching portrait of Gar, a young man on the verge of a new beginning, searching for the strength to say goodbye. Taking place the night before he will leave his childhood town in Ballybeg, the tragicomedy tells of Gar’s dream of Cadillacs, Coke floats and girls across the ocean; a dream of America.

Turner will direct Rory Keenan in the production, following his role in last year’s Dublin Carol which played as part of the Donmar Trafalgar season. Joining Keenan is Paul Reid, who makes his Donmar debut in the production. The pair will both take on the starring role of Gar, a character split into two personas and performances, Gar in private (Keenan) and Gar in public (Reid).

Following the revival, which runs until 22 September, the much-lauded venue’s Artistic Director Josie Rourke will direct Duff in Racine’s Bérénice from 27 September (press night 2 October) until 24 November.

Described as a “perfect tragedy of unfulfilled passion”, the Olivier Award-winning actress will star in the title role as the Emperor of Rome Titus’s lover. When her time comes to finally be made Queen, Titus must decide between love and responsibility when the people of Rome make their disapproval of Berenice known.

Duff is one of the London stage’s most acclaimed actresses, having won an Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Award for her celebrated performance in the National Theatre’s Saint Joan. Her last appearance at the Donmar Warehouse saw her appear in Days Of Wine And Roses, while she was last on stage starring in the Old Vic’s critically acclaimed Cause Célèbre. Also well known for her screen work, Duff has starred in Shameless, The Virgin Queen and Dr Zhivago on television and in films Nowhere Boy, Enigma and The Magdalene Sisters.

Bérénice marks Hollinghurst’s theatrical debut, although The Man Booker Prize-winning author, whose novels include The Line Of Beauty and The Stranger’s Child, previously adapted another of Racine’s novels, Bazajet, for a BBC Radio 3 radio play.

Rourke said she was thrilled to be bringing the work of “two of our greatest living writers to our stage, Brian Friel and Alan Hollingsworth”. Adding: “Alan Hollingsworth’s powerful new version of Racine’s breathtaking tragedy Bérénice… offers at its core an extraordinary part for a woman, and I’m delighted to be directing Anne-Marie Duff in the title role. It’s an exciting time for the Donmar, and I am looking forward to presenting this rich and varied programme at a vital time in London’s history.”

Full casting has also been announced for The Physicists, which will follow current production Making Noise Quietly into the venue from 31 May. Joining the previously announced Sophie Thompson, Miranda Raison, Paul Bhattacharjee, John Heffernan, Justin Salinger, John Ramm and Joanna Brookes are Oliver Coopersmith, Ben Hardy, Adam McNamara and Obioma Ugoala.

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