John Heffernan will lead the cast of Tom Morton-Smith’s new play Oppenheimer when the Royal Shakespeare Company production transfers to London’s Vaudeville Theatre next month.
Morton-Smith’s drama, which premiered at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this year, will play from 27 March (press night 31 March) to 23 May at the West End venue.
Commissioned by the RSC, Oppenheimer tells the story of J Robert Oppenheimer, a man often referred to as “the father of the atomic bomb”, taking audiences into the heart of the Manhattan Project and revealing the personal cost of making history.
When the production, which is directed by Angus Jackson (Goodnight Mister Tom), opened in Stratford-upon-Avon in January, it received a string of four and five star reviews, with The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish describing the play as “A sure-fire hit”.
Talking about the show’s forthcoming West End run, the RSC’s Artistic Director Gregory Doran said: “I am so pleased that Tom’s wonderful play can be seen by London audiences. The epic nature of the subject and the broad sweep of the narrative is something we have always encouraged in our commissioned new work.
“This is a direct legacy of Shakespeare, who, of course, was once a ‘new writer’ himself. Angus Jackson’s original production opened in the Swan Theatre which is not only a showcase for Shakespeare’s contemporaries, but also for today’s writers who have been inspired by him. Tom took up our challenge to think big, and has tackled a complex subject and some extraordinary personalities, and has woven a compelling narrative around them.”
Oppenheimer will follow America Bullmore’s comedy Di And Viv And Rose, which closes on 14 March, into the Vaudeville Theatre. It will be joined in the capital later in the year by another RSC transfer, A Mad World My Masters, which runs at the Barbican Theatre from 29 April to 9 May following a UK tour.