Husband and wife Julian Glover and Isla Blair are to star together when The President’s Holiday opens at the Hampstead in January. The couple will play Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev in the story of the 1991 coup written by Penny Gold. Sophie Cornelius, Amy Jane Cotter, Robert Demeger, Anna Hewson, Roger May, Ella O’Brien and Skye Stuart complete the cast.
Glover and Blair have appeared many times together, most memorably as husband and wife in 1989 film Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, and in 1996 when Blair played Gertrude and Glover the Ghost in a production of Hamlet that saw their son Jamie take on the eponymous lead.
More recently Glover has appeared in the West End productions of Macbeth (Albery, now Noel Coward 2002), The Dresser (Duke of York’s 2005) and The Voysey Inheritance (National 2006). Blair’s London credits include the multi award-winning The History Boys (Wyndham’s 2006), A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and Stuff Happens (both National 2004).
Gold’s play, described as ‘part political thriller and part personal drama’ is based on the diaries of Raisa Gorbecheva. It tells the story of the coup from the perspective of the family. On 18 August 1991, Gorbachev was sitting on the veranda of his summer house while his grandchildren played on the beach below. Half an hour later, all communication with the outside world had been cut and the house was swarming with secret police and heavily armed officers.
Gold previously wrote Three Days That Shook The World, a Radio 4 drama about the coup told from the point of view of the media. Her other stage plays include When We Are Rich, Burning In Heaven and I Was Shakespeare’s Double.
The President’s Holiday, produced in collaboration with the Nuffield theatre, Southampton, is the first in a series of plays with a Russian connection at Hampstead. It runs from 17 January (press night 22 January) to 16 February.
The President’s Holiday is followed by Diane Samuels and Tracy Ann Oberman’s 3 Sisters On Hope Street, which resets Chekhov’s classic in post-World War II Liverpool, a revival of Shared Experience’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s War And Peace, an as yet unconfirmed production from Sputnik Theatre Company, and the world premiere of Fast Labour, a tale of illegal immigration by Steve Waters.