Wilton and McNally join Law in Hamlet

Published January 30, 2009

Penelope Wilton, Kevin R McNally and Ron Cook are among the Donmar Warehouse regulars returning to work with Artistic Director Michael Grandage on his forthcoming production of Hamlet at the Wyndham’s theatre in May.

The newly announced cast members join Jude Law in the title role of this highly anticipated production, the final instalment in the Donmar West End season that has so far included Ivanov and Twelfth Night.

Wilton, who plays Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, won a Best Actress Evening Standard Theatre Award for her performance in The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse last year. Her many other Donmar credits include The Family Reunion, John Gabriel Borkman, The Little Foxes and A Kind Of Alaska. The four-times Laurence Olivier Award-nominated actress’s extensive career also includes work for the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company and screen roles in The History Boys, Match Point, Calendar Girls and Iris.

The role of Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and nemesis, is played by McNally, who returns to work with Grandage after appearing in his production of Ivanov last year. McNally’s stage credits also include World Music for the Donmar, Boeing Boeing at the Comedy theatre, The Lady In The Van at the Queen’s theatre and Naked at the Almeida and Playhouse theatres. McNally is well-known for his big screen outings in the Pirates Of The Caribbean series and can be seen in new film Valkyrie.

Cook, currently playing Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night in the Donmar West End season, takes the role of Polonius in Hamlet. Cook’s numerous London stage credits include Helpless, Juno And The Paycock and Glengarry Glen Ross for the Donmar, The Seafarer and Howard Katz at the National Theatre and Art at the Wyndham’s theatre.

Matt Ryan and Alex Waldmann, who have both previously worked for the Donmar in Small Change and Twelfth Night respectively, join the cast as Horatio and Laertes, while Peter Eyre (The Wild Duck and Murder In The Cathedral at the Donmar) plays the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father/Player King.

The cast is completed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw – who is currently on stage at the National Theatre in Gethsemane – as Ophelia, John MacMillan as Rosencrantz and Gwilym Lee as Guildenstern.

Hamlet was originally to be directed by Kenneth Branagh, who pulled out due to filming commitments, meaning Grandage is now directing all four productions in the Donmar West End season. Following Twelfth Night, the season continues with Judi Dench in Madame De Sade, which plays from 13 March to 23 May, before Hamlet begins previews on 29 May (press night 3 June).


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