Royal Shakespeare Company productions of The Alchemist, Doctor Faustus, Cymbeline, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing will all take to the London stage later this year.
The Swan Theatre double bill of Doctor Faustus and The Alchemist are the first to make it to the capital, running at the Barbican between 2 September and 1 October. The plays, which share a cast, run in Stratford-upon-Avon from 11 April to 6 August.
Maria Aberg’s production of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe’s tale of a scholar who sells his soul to the devil, features Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan sharing the role of the doctor and the tempting demon Mephistopheles. The decision about who plays who is made by burning matches on stage before each performance.
Polly Findlay’s directs Ben Johnson’s story of a butler who, when the townhouse is deserted by his employer, turns it into a den of criminal activity.
Cymbeline and King Lear follow at the Barbican from 31 October to 23 December, after summer runs in Stratford-upon-Avon.
King Lear sees RSC regular Antony Sher take on the Bard’s great aging monarch who lives to regret giving away his land, with David Troughton as his Gloucester.
In the hands of director Melly Still, another of Shakespeare’s kings, Cymbeline, becomes a queen, as Gillian Bevan takes on the role, with Bethan Cullinane as her Innogen.
The final couple of RSC transfers come to the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 9 December until 18 March, as Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won) transfer from Chichester Festival Theatre.
Full casting for the plays – one a comedy torn apart by the onset of war, the other about returning soldiers – is yet to be confirmed, though Edward Bennett, who famously stepped into the breach when David Tennant was unable to play Hamlet in London, will play Love’s Labour’s Lost’s Berowne and Much Ado About Nothing’s Benedick.
Speaking about the transfers Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director, said: “I am thrilled that we are able to share so much of our work with audiences in London this year, with a total of twelve productions playing at the Barbican and the West End.”