Kathleen Turner will return to the London stage in May to star alongside Olivier Award winner Ian McDiarmid in the UK premiere of Bakersfield Mist at the Duchess Theatre.
Stephen Sachs’ comedy drama, which is directed by Polly Teale and runs from 10 May (press night 27 May), will mark Turner’s third appearance on the West End stage.
The stage and screen actress will take on the role of unemployed bartender Maude in the play. After buying a painting for a few bucks, Maude believes it to be a Jackson Pollock, but when world-class art expert Lionel Percy flies over from New York to authenticate the painting at her trailer park home, he has no idea what he is about to discover.
Sachs’ two-hander received its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Fountain Theatre, of which he is Artistic Director, in 2011, when producer Sonia Friedman optioned it for a London run. Friedman is producing the West End show alongside theatre owner and producer Nica Burns.
Arguably best known for her screen roles in films including Romancing The Stone, Crimes Of Passion and Body Heat, her previous theatre appearances include Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof on Broadway, a performance for which she received a Tony Award, and The Graduate in the West End.
Fellow Tony Award winner and forthcoming co-star McDiarmid, who won an Olivier Award for his performance in 1982’s Insignificance at the Royal Court, has most recently appeared in productions including Life Of Galileo for the RSC, the National Theatre’s Emperor And Galilean and The Prince Of Homburg at the Donmar Warehouse. On screen, he is best known for playing the role of Darth Sidious in Star Wars.
Turner spoke about her upcoming role, describing the play’s combination of culture clashes and the power of art as “pure joy”, while McDiarmid said: “I liked the idea and comic potential of two passionately opinionated cultural opposites engaged in a life-changing battle for the soul of a great painter.”
Burns, who welcomes Bakersfield Mist to the Duchess Theatre following the Royal Opera House’s acclaimed transfer of The Wind In The Willows, said: “When we were lucky enough to hear Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid read the play for us, the chemistry between these two great stage actors was thrilling. It has been eight years since Kathleen stunned London audiences with her extraordinary award winning performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This is a fantastic role for her return to the London stage.”