Game Of Thrones star Iain Glen, Olivier Award winner Richard McCabe and former Merlin actor Alexander Vlahos are to star in the West End debut of Ivan Turgenev’s Russian satire Fortune’s Fool this Christmas.
The play, which previews at the Kevin Spacey-led venue from 6 December before opening to the press on 19 December, is an explosive 19th century family drama that charts the events of one tumultuous day.
Turgenev’s play, last performed on Broadway in 2002, follows newlyweds who are welcomed to their country estate by penniless gentleman-in-residence Kuzovkin (Glen). When wealthy neighbour Tropatchov (McCabe) drops by for a celebratory lunch, a little too much bubbly eases the way for a shocking revelation with far-reaching consequences.
Leading man Glen, known to TV fans as Game Of Thrones’ Ser Jorah Mormont and Downton Abbey’s Sir Richard Carlisle, is becoming the go to man for Russian adaptations on the London stage, having recently starred in William Boyd’s Chekhov-inspired Longing at Hampstead theatre and Uncle Vanya at the Print Room, which was, like Fortune’s Fool, adapted by Mike Poulton. The stage regular’s credits stretch far wider than Russia though, taking in productions including The Crucible (Royal Shakespeare Company), Hedda Gabler (Almeida theatre) and A Streetcar Named Desire (National Theatre).
McCabe, like Glen, is often found on the capital’s stages, where he has appeared in productions including Yes, Prime Minister, Twelfth Night and The Audience, a performance for which he won an Olivier Award earlier this year.
Vlahos, by contrast, is a newcomer to the West End, though he has performed at the National Theatre (Emperor And Galilean) and recently in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival . The rising star is undoubtedly best known for his role as the morally ambiguous Mordred in the BBC family series Merlin. He takes to the London stage at the same time as his co-star in that show, Colin Morgan, who appears across the river in the star-studded production of Mojo.
RSC regular Lucy Briggs-Owen returns to the Old Vic, where she previously appeared in Noises Off, to play Olga, the new wife of Vlahos’ Yeletsky.
The cast of the Lucy Bailey-directed production also features Dyfan Dwyfor, Janet Fullerlove, Paul Ham, Richard Henders and Simon Markey, though full casting is not yet complete.
Fortune’s Fool, which will be designed by regular Bailey collaborator William Dudley, will follow the Old Vic’s current production of Shakespeare’s banter-filled comedy Much Ado About Nothing starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. The production, directed by acclaimed performer Mark Rylance, opened last month.