Gina McKee and Anna Maxwell Martin will join Tamzin Outhwaite in the transfer of Hampstead Downstairs’ sell-out production Di And Viv And Rose to the venue’s main space this spring.
Di And Viv And Rose will play at the venue from 17 January (press night 23 January) to 23 February and is set to be followed by the world premiere of critically acclaimed novelist William Boyd’s Longing, a play based on two short stories by Anton Chekhov.
Actress and playwright Amelia Bullmore’s Di And Viv And Rose premiered in Hampstead theatre’s intimate Downstairs space in 2011. The comedy is the first Downstairs production to transfer to the main stage since the space opened in 2010 with the intention of offering a platform for new writing away from the pressure of critics and reviews.
Telling the story of three woman who meet aged 18 at university, Di And Viv And Rose, which is directed by the twice Olivier Award nominated Anna Mackmin, is described as being a hilarious and thoughtful exploration of friendship’s impact on life and life’s impact on friendship.
Outhwaite will reprise her role as Di in the comedy. While arguably still best known for her long-running role on BBC soap EastEnders, Outhwaite boasts numerous credits on stage including Sweet Charity (Theatre Royal Haymarket and Menier Chocolate Factory), Boeing Boeing (Comedy), Breathing Corpses and Flesh Wound (Royal Court). On television she has also starred in New Tricks, Law And Order and Hotel Babylon.
Olivier Award nominated actress McKee will make her Hampstead theatre debut in the production as Viv. Last seen on stage in the critically acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of King Lear, her many credits include The Lover & The Collection and Ivanov in the West End, while on screen she has starred in films including Notting Hill, Atonement and In The Loop, and television programmes Hebburn, The Borgias and Line Of Duty.
Also making her Hampstead theatre debut, Maxwell Martin concludes the cast as Rose. The critically acclaimed Poppy Shakespeare actress was last seen on stage at the Almeida theatre in Measure For Measure, with other appearances including Rufus Norris’ original West End production of Cabaret, The Female Of The Species at the Vaudeville theatre and Dumb Show at the Royal Court theatre. A well-known face on television, the double BAFTA winning actress has starred in series including The Bletchley Circle, Bleak House and South Riding.
Boyd’s Longing will follow the comedy from 28 February (press night 7 March) to 13 April. The new play by the hugely successful author will be directed by Nina Raine who returns to the venue following the success of Tiger Country in 2010, which she both wrote and directed.
Taking two of legendary writer Chekhov’s short stories, the Any Human Heart novelist has created a tale of 19th century Russian life both familiar and unfamiliar that tells the story of Kolia who is invited to visit his oldest friends on their estate in the country. Anticipating a pleasant break from Moscow life, he finds himself adrift in a miasma of false expectations, missed opportunities and unspoken passions as the comedy of provincial life plays out around him.
Casting for Longing is to be announced shortly.