Will Keen has been drafted in to the cast of The Arsonists, which opens at the Royal Court next month, to replace Jasper Britton. The change was made after Britton withdrew from the production for personal reasons. Britton will, however, continue to play the role of Jean in Rhinoceros, which runs in repertoire with The Arsonists.
This is the second time in 2007 that Keen has stepped into the breach, following his appearance in the Donmar Warehouse production of Kiss Of The Spiderwoman. The role of Molina, which Keen played at the intimate venue, was originally due to be played by Iain Glen, before he was forced to pull out of the drama.
Keen has made himself part of the London theatre furniture in recent years. In addition to Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, he appeared in Tom And Viv (Almeida) and The Changeling (Barbican) in 2006, The Rubinstein Kiss (Hampstead) in 2005, Five Gold Rings (Almeida) and The Duchess Of Malfi (National) in 2003, and The Coast Of Utopia (National) in 2002.
The Arsonists, in which Keen stars alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Zawe Ashton, is Swiss playwright Max Frisch’s parable about being accommodating. Fires are becoming a problem in Biedermann’s town, but, being an upstanding member of the community, he won’t let them stand in the way of offering shelter to two strangers, even when they begin filling the attic with petrol drums.
Royal Court Associate Director Ramin Gray, whose credits include Motortown, Terrorism, The American Pilot and this season’s The Ugly One, directs The Arsonists, with design by Anthony Ward and choreography by Hofesh Shechter. The cast includes Michael Begley, Paul Chahidi, Jacqueline Defferary, David Hinton, Claire Prempeh, Alwyne Taylor and Graham Turner.
The Arsonists previews at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 1 November, opening on 6 November. Rhinoceros is currently running.