Old Vic rounds up new productions

Published October 22, 2008

Kevin Spacey is to direct new play Complicit at the Old Vic in January, followed by a new production of Brian Friel’s Dancing At Lughnasa starring Niamh Cusack and Andrea Corr.

Both productions will retain the in-the-round staging created in the Old Vic’s auditorium for Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests, which is playing until 20 December.

Joe Sutton’s new play Complicit (7 January to 21 February, press night 22 January) explores the current American political climate through the eyes of Ben Kritzer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor.

Sutton’s previous plays include Voir Dire, As It Is In Heaven, The Benefits Of Doubt and Black Market. Director Spacey, who is Artistic Director of the Old Vic, previously directed Cloaca there and has starred in several productions on its stage, including Richard II, A Moon For The Misbegotten and Speed-The-Plow. Casting for Complicit is yet to be announced.

The season continues with the first London revival of Friel’s Dancing At Lughnasa (26 February to 9 May, press night 5 March), which won the 1991 Laurence Olivier Award for Play of the Year and transferred from the National Theatre to the West End and Broadway. A bittersweet reflection of rural Ireland on the brink of industrialisation in the 1930s, the play charts the loss of love and opportunity of the five Mundy sisters.

Irish playwright Friel’s many plays include Aristocrats, Translations, Molly Sweeney and Faith Healer, most recently staged by the Gate Theatre Dublin in a Tony Award-nominated production.

Cusack’s London stage credits include The Enchantment and His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink in the West End and several productions for the Bush and the Royal Court. On television, she was a fixture in the cast of Heartbeat in the 1990s. Corr, who makes her London stage debut in this production, is best known as the lead singer in the band she formed with her siblings, The Corrs, which had a number of hit singles in the 1990s. As an actress she had minor roles in the films The Commitments and Evita.

The cast of Dancing At Lughnasa also includes Michelle Fairley, who was Laurence Olivier Award-nominated for her role in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse, and Susan Lynch, who last appeared in The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida. They are directed by Anna Mackmin, whose West End directorial credits include recent productions of In Celebration and Under The Blue Sky.

Continuing the Old Vic’s 2009 season, dates have also been confirmed for the two inaugural productions in The Bridge Project, a transatlantic collaboration between the Old Vic and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Directed by Sam Mendes, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard will play in repertoire from 23 May to 15 August (press performances 9 June) with a cast including Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Ethan Hawke, Richard Easton, Josh Hamilton and Rebecca Hall.

CB