Vibrator Play comes to London

Published September 6, 2013

After creating a buzz at the Theatre Royal Bath, the Theatre Awards UK-winning production of Sarah Ruhl’s acclaimed In The Next Room Or The Vibrator Play will transfer to the St James theatre later this year.

Reuniting two members of Laurence Boswell’s hit production’s original cast, which played at the prestigious West Country venue’s Ustinov Studio in 2012, Edward Bennett and Flora Montgomery will return to their roles for the St James theatre run from 13 November (press night 21 November), joined by Olivier Award-winning actress Sarah Woodward.

Based on historic events around the invention of the play’s title sexual aid, Ruhl’s play was nominated for three Tony Awards when it made its Broadway premiere in 2009, with the playwright declared by the New York Times to be “one of the most gifted and adventurous American playwrights to emerge in recent years” for her “inspired new comedy”.

While much of the general public may presume Ann Summers to be the brainchild behind the revolutionary device, Ruhl’s play set in the late 19th century reveals its true history, beginning life as a strange electrical devise that Dr Givings believed could treat female hysteria. A provocative and touching story about sex and intimacy, the play centres on two women for whom the machine offers a new lease of life in their sexually frustrating marriages.

Royal Shakespeare Company regular Bennett, who was last seen in London in the Lyric Hammersmith’s Lovesong and famously found himself unexpectedly taking centre stage when David Tennant had to pull out of a production of Hamlet, will reprise his role as Leo Irving, while Montgomery will return as leading lady Sabrina Daldry.

Woodward, who will take over the role of Annie, boasts recent London stage credits including the Tricycle theatre’s Bracken Moor, Love And Information and Jumpy at the Royal Court theatre, as well as numerous credits with the RSC and notable appearances in the Donmar Warehouse’s The Real Thing, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for its subsequent Broadway transfer, and her Olivier Award-winning role in 1998’s Tom & Clem.

In The Next Room Or The Vibrator Play will play at the St James theatre until 4 January with further casting to be announced. The production, which unsurprisingly comes with the warning that it “contains scenes of an adult nature”, follows another relationship-based drama that begins previews at the venue next week, the Trevor Nunn-directed Scenes From A Marriage starring Olivia Williams and Mark Bazeley.