Gemma Arterton will return to the West End stage in February to take the lead role in Nell Gwynn when the critically acclaimed Shakespeare’s Globe production transfers to London’s Apollo Theatre.
The Quantum Of Solace actress, who was last seen on the London stage in the musical stage adaptation of Made In Dagenham, takes over the role originated by Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the Bankside venue this summer.
Written by Jessica Swale with direction from Christopher Luscombe, the production will play at the Apollo Theatre from 4 February (press night 12 February) until 30 April.
Arterton’s third outing for the Globe, following 2014’s The Duchess Of Malfi and 2007’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, will see the stage and screen star play the cheeky, charming and clever mistress of Charles II.
As the new monarch explodes on to the scene for a love of all things loud, French and sexy, at Drury Lane the young Nell Gwynn, who went on to become one of the first and most acclaimed women to appear on the London stage, is selling oranges for a sixpence, unaware that she has a rather important admirer.
While Arterton is arguably best known for her film credits, which include The Voices, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and Tamara Drewe, the Olivier Award nominated actress picked up the award for Newcomer in a Musical at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards last Saturday. Her Nell Gwynn co-stars are still to be announced.
Nell Gwynn was the final production to open at the Globe’s iconic outdoor theatre back in September and was described by the Evening Standard’s Fiona Mountford as “A rollicking good evening’s entertainment.”
The production opens at the Apollo Theatre following the forthcoming run of Mischief Theatre’s new comedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong. In the meantime the West End theatre plays host to a different musical every night until Saturday when Showstopper! The Improvised Musical ends its run.