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Stenham’s That Face transfers to West End

Published 17 April 2008

That Face, the debut play by multi award-winning young playwright Polly Stenham, is to have a limited West End season at the Duke of York’s from 1 May (press night 8 May), booking until 5 July.

Written by Stenham when she was just 19, That Face ran at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in April 2007. Stenham was subsequently named Most Promising Playwright at both the Evening Standard Awards and the Critics’ Circle Awards, and the cast of the Royal Court production has been nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in this year’s awards in March.

Lindsay Duncan and Matt Smith, who led the cast at the Royal Court, are to recreate their performances for this West End run. They are joined in Jeremy Herrin’s production by Catherine Steadman and Julian Wadham.

That Face is a portrayal of an affluent family in freefall. Duncan plays Martha, mother of two children, Mia and Henry, whose lives are controlled by their drunken, emotionally distraught mother. Mia takes her mother’s drugs to boarding school, while Henry has dropped out of school altogether. Their father doesn’t really care at all, so it is left to the children to become parents to their parents.

Duncan is a two-times Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress whose many London stage credits include Private Lives at the Albery, Celebration and The Room at the Almeida, Top Girls, Mouth To Mouth and Ashes To Ashes at the Royal Court and, further back, Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Barbican Pit and the Ambassadors in 1986, for which she won her first Laurence Olivier Award.

Smith was nominated for Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards 2007 for his performance as Henry in That Face. Since then, Smith has been seen in the West End starring opposite Christian Slater in the Hollywood drama Swimming With Sharks. He has also appeared in The History Boys and Burn, Chatroom, Citizenship at the National, and has television credits including Party Animals and The Ruby In The Smoke.

Wadham can currently be seen as Don Pedro in the National’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. He has worked frequently at the National, the Royal Court and in the West End, and his screen credits include The English Patient and My Boy Jack. Steadman has previously been seen in London in Babooshka at the Pleasance and The Glory Of Living at BAC.

That Face opens at the Duke of York’s following The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo, which finishes its limited West End run on 19 April. The production, which features a cast of 30 South African singers and musicians, enjoyed a sell-out run at the Young Vic over the Christmas season.

CB

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