Baby Doll Makes Way for Guardsman at AlberyDate: 1 August 2000
The revival of Ferenc Molnar's play The Guardsman, starring Greta Scacchi and Michael Pennington, is confirmed for a West End run this autumn. It opens on 11 October at the Albery Theatre, where the Birmingham Rep/National Theatre co-production of Tennessee Williams Baby Doll has just announced its closure. Baby Doll, which transferred from the National's Lyttelton theatre, will close on 26 August, the end of its current booking period.
The Guardsman premieres at Bromley's Churchill Theatre on 28 August and continues to Bath, Richmond and Stoke on Trent prior to the West End. The backstage comedy centres around Nandor, a lovelorn and long suffering actor, who is consumed by jealousy of his actress wife Ilona's admirers. Intent on testing Ilona's fidelity, Nandor disguises himself and attempts to seduce his own wife. But will she or won't she take the bait?
The 1910 play was, along with The Glass Slipper, one of the Hungarian playwright's most popular successes. In recent years, it inspired the musical Enter the Guardsmen - with book by Scott Wentworth, music by Craig Bohmler and lyrics by Marion Adler - which played at the Donmar Warehouse in 1997, starring Janie Dee and Alexander Hanson.
Pennington's many theatre credits include An Ideal Husband, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and the Peter Hall repertory season at the Piccadilly where he appeared in The Misanthrope, Major Barbara, and Filumena with Dame Judi Dench. Most recently, Pennington starred in the RSC production of Timon of Athens.
Scacchi is best known for her roles in films such as Presumed Innocent, White Mischief, Heat and Dust, Shattered and Jefferson in Paris. Her stage credits include Uncle Vanya in the West End in 1998 and last year's Chichester Festival production of Easy Virtue, part of the Noel Coward centenary celebrations. She has also performed The Doll's House and Simpatico in Australia.
Pennington and Scacchi are joined in the cast by Nickolas Grace, Georgina Hale, Laura Macauley, Jacqueline Skarvellis and Tim Faulkner. The Guardsman is directed by Janet Suzman and designed by Charles Cusick Smith with lighting by Nick Beadle.