Amanda Drew has been cast in the The Ugly One by German playwright Marius von Mayenburg, which forms part of the Royal Court’s season of international plays in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs this autumn.
Drew is a familiar face to EastEnders viewers for playing baby-crazy Dr May Wright, a role she left in June of this year. A RADA-graduate, Drew has worked extensively on stage in London and elsewhere, including a period with the RSC. She was nominated for an Outstanding Newcomer Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2003 for her work on the RSC’s production of Eastward Ho! at London’s Gielgud theatre. Her other recent London stage credits include Blithe Spirit at the Savoy in 2004, Otherwise Engaged at the Criterion in 2005 and Enemies at the Almeida last year. Drew has appeared at the Royal Court several times previously, including Mr Kolpert in 2000.
The Ugly One, a satire on appearance, reality and plastic surgery, opens the Royal Court’s International Playwrights season on 13 September (press night 18 September). It tells the story of Lette, who thought he was normal but, when the extent of his ugliness is revealed, he turns to a plastic surgeon for help. After the bandages come off, Lette learns that there is such a thing as too beautiful. Drew is joined in the cast by National Theatre regular Michael Gould (Attempts On Her Life, The Seagull, The UN Inspector) and Irish actor Frank McCusker (Coriolanus at Shakespeare's Globe).
Directed by Ramin Gray, The Ugly One runs until 13 October and is followed by four other plays by non-UK playwrights which run consecutively during the autumn: an exploration of the harsh realities of immigration called Kebab by Gianina Carbunariu from Romania (19 Oct-3 Nov); Free Outgoing, a tale of modern technology’s clash with conservatism in India by Anupama Chandrasekhar (8-24 Nov); and a double bill of family-set plays – The Good Family by Sweden’s Joakim Pirinen and The Khomenko Family Chronicle by Natalia Vorozhbit of the Ukraine (30 Nov-21 Dec).
In other casting news at the Royal Court, Zawe Ashton and Lloyd Hutchinson have joined Benedict Cumberbatch in the casts of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and Max Frisch’s The Arsonists, which run in repertoire in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 21 September-15 December.
Ashton has previously worked at the Royal Court in Gone Too Far, and is currently playing Bianca in Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe. Hutchinson’s London theatre credits include The Night Season, The Permanent Way and Once In A Lifetime at the National, Stones In His Pockets at the Duke of York’s and Some Voices and The Beauty Queen Of Leenane at the Royal Court. He has also worked frequently with the RSC.
Rhinoceros opens on 29 September after previews from 21 September, while The Arsonists opens on 6 November after previews from 1 November.