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Gambon leads quartet into No Man’s Land

Published 3 July 2008

Michael Gambon is to return to the West End stage in the Gate theatre Dublin’s production of Harold Pinter’s play No Man’s Land, which transfers to the Duke of York’s on 27 September (press night 7 October).

Gambon is joined in the cast by David Bradley, Nick Dunning and Little Britain star David Walliams, who makes his West End stage debut in the production. They are directed by this year’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning director Rupert Goold.

Pinter’s play is a tragicomedy about two aging writers, Hirst (Gambon) and Spooner (Bradley). After meeting on Hampstead Heath, they return home for a late-night session of witty banter, sinister power games and alcohol, watched by Hirst’s henchmen, Briggs and Foster.

The weighty cast of this production follows in the even weightier footsteps of John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson, who were among the cast of Peter Hall’s premiere production at the National Theatre in 1975. Years later, Pinter himself played Hirst in the 1992 production at the Almeida, before directing Corin Redgrave in a production at the National in 2001. This production of No Man’s Land opens at the Gate theatre in Dublin on 26 August, where it plays until transferring to London.

Nobel Prize-winning playwright, actor, screenwriter and director Pinter has written numerous plays including Betrayal, The Caretaker, The Lover & The Collection, The Birthday Party and The Homecoming, all of which have been performed on the London stage in recent years.

Gambon and Bradley, two of Theatreland’s most distinguished actors, have both previously performed Pinter’s work. Gambon most recently took part in a staged reading of Celebration at the Albery (now Noël Coward) in 2005 as part of the playwright’s 75th birthday celebrations, while his career has also encompassed productions of Betrayal, Mountain Language and The Caretaker. Among Gambon’s recent stage credits are Cressida at the Almeida, A Number at the Royal Court, Endgame at the Albery and Eh Joe at the Duke of York’s. His screen work includes the films The Singing Detective, Gosford Park, Sylvia, Angels In America, Amazing Grace, four outings as Hogwarts headmaster in the Harry Potter series of films, plus the popular 90s detective series Maigret.

Bradley, who has just completed a run of one-man show The Quiz at Trafalgar Studios, played Davies in Pinter’s The Caretaker at the Tricycle last year, and has previously appeared in The Homecoming at the National. He has worked extensively on stage at the National, the Almeida, the Donmar Warehouse and with the Royal Shakespeare Company. On film he appeared with Gambon in the Harry Potter series, playing caretaker Argus Filch, and has recently been seen on television in Sweeney Todd, True Dare Kiss, Reckless and Our Mutual Friend.

Walliams makes his West End stage debut playing henchman Foster. The actor and comedian is best known for creating the television comedy series Little Britain along with comedy partner Matt Lucas. Walliams has also been seen on television playing Frankie Howerd in Rather You Than Me, in Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary and in films Prince Caspian, Run Fat Boy Run and Stardust.

Dunning has worked frequently with the Gate theatre Dublin, including Pinter’s Betrayal and The Homecoming, which transferred to London’s Comedy theatre, and has other credits including Our Country’s Good at the Royal Court and The Taming Of The Shrew for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dunning has also been seen on screen in The Tudors, Waking The Dead, Whistleblower, Alexander The Great and In America.

Goold is one of London’s most sought after directors at the moment, having won the 2008 Best Director Laurence Olivier Award for directing Patrick Stewart in Macbeth at Chichester Festival Theatre and London’s Gielgud theatre. The production subsequently transferred to Broadway, receiving six Tony nominations. Goold, who is Artistic Director of Headlong theatre, directed the company’s production of The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida earlier this year and has other London credits including The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo and The Tempest at the Novello. He is also lined up to direct Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the autumn.

No Man’s Land is booking at the Duke of York’s until 3 January 2009.

CB

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