The drama depicts the last days in the life of the ailing Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, and the power struggle between Simpson’s steely French lawyer Suzanne Blum (Hancock) and the writer Caroline Blackwood (Chancellor) who has been sent by The Sunday Times to interview the Duchess.
Based on Blackwood’s book of the same name, Wright’s play sees the writer stumble into a mysterious Parisian household fraught with tensions and come up against Blum, who wields power of attorney like a rod of iron.
Hancock is one of Britain’s best-loved actresses whose lengthy career has included numerous stage and screen appearances. She was last seen playing the Mother Superior in Sister Act at the London Palladium, while other recent stage credits include The Birthday Party at the Lyric Hammersmith, Cabaret in the West End – for which she won a 2008 Olivier Award – and In Extremis at the National Theatre. Known for classic television shows The Rag Trade and Now Take My Wife, Hancock’s more recent screen work includes Bleak House, New Tricks, Moving On and film The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. She was also a judge on the BBC’s talent contest Over The Rainbow last year.
Chancellor is a regular on the London stage where her credits have included Creditors and Boston Marriage at the Donmar Warehouse and The Observer, Stanley and Never So Good at the National Theatre. On screen she has been seen in Spooks, Tipping The Velvet and Kavanagh QC – alongside Hancock’s late husband John Thaw – however she is probably still best known for her role as Duckface in hit film Four Weddings And A Funeral.
The Last Of The Duchess, which stars Angela Thorne as Diana Mosley, opens on 26 October and plays until 26 November.