Michael Grandage has assembled a weighty cast of youth and experience to join Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov, the first production in the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s, which previews from 12 September.
Rising young stars Andrea Riseborough and Tom Hiddleston join the cast, along with Gina McKee, Kevin R McNally, Linda Broughton, John Atterbury and Malcolm Sinclair, all of whom have previously worked for the Donmar Warehouse. Lorcan Cranitch, Lucy Briers, Sylvestra Le Touzel and James Tucker are also cast in the production, which is headed by Branagh in the title role.
Riseborough (Sasha) and Hiddleston (Lvov) are two of the West End’s most acclaimed young stars. Winning the Ian Charleson Award for her appearances in Miss Julie and Measure For Measure at Theatre Royal Bath, Riseborough has been seen in London in Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship at the National Theatre, The Pain And the Itch at the Royal Court and A Couple Of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians at the Soho. Her television credits include Party Animals and the recent drama The Long Walk To Finchley, in which she portrayed Margaret Thatcher. Hiddleston has the unusual honour of beating himself to win the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Newcomer; he was nominated for his performances in Cymbeline at the Barbican, for which he won the award, and Othello at the Donmar Warehouse, in which he played Cassio to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Moor.
McKee plays Anna Petrovna. She previously appeared at the Donmar in Old Times, and was most recently seen in the West End in Pinter’s double-bill The Lover & The Collection at the Comedy. She is a recognisable face on television where her credits include The Street, The Forsyte Saga and Our Friends In The North.
McNally (Lebedev) is well known for playing pirate Gibbs in The Pirates Of The Caribbean film trilogy. On stage he has most recently appeared in Boeing Boeing at the Comedy as well as World Music for the Donmar and Naked at the Almeida and Playhouse.
Broughton, Atterbury and Sinclair have all worked for the Donmar before, in The Chalk Garden – which is currently playing – The Wild Duck and Privates On Parade respectively. Sinclair has had a busy year on stage, appearing in Dealer’s Choice at the Trafalgar Studios and the current production of Rosmersholm at the Almeida.
Cranitch (Borkin) has appeared frequently on stage in Dublin and has television credits including The Street, Rome and Ballykissangel; Le Touzel (Zinaida) can currently be seen in Ron Hutchinson’s Topless Mum at the Tricycle; Briers (Babakina) has London stage credits including Some Kind Of Bliss at Trafalgar Studios and The Voysey Inheritance at the National; while Tucker (Kosykh) has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Anton Chekhov’s first play, written in 1887, Ivanov is an explosive portrait of a man plagued with self-doubt and despair, which captures the electrifying atmosphere of Russia on the brink of change. Once a man of limitless promise, Ivanov is plunged into debt. His marriage is in crisis and his evenings are spent negotiating loans, avoiding love affairs and fighting to resist the small town jealousies and intrigues which threaten to engulf his life.
The Donmar West End production is a new version by acclaimed playwright Tom Stoppard, whose previous works include the recent multi-award-winning Rock ‘N’ Roll, Arcadia, The Real Thing and the Tony-winning trilogy The Coast Of Utopia.
Ivanov runs at the Wyndham’s from 12 September to 29 November (press night 17 September). The season continues with Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night, Judi Dench in Madame De Sade and Jude Law in Hamlet.
Ticket prices for the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s fall in line with those at the Donmar Warehouse itself (£10-£32.50), with the intention of making the season accessible to all.