Court Delay Forces Dublin Carol to Old VicDate: 7 January 2000
The world premiere of Weir author Conor McPherson's latest play, intended to inaugurate the revamped Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, has been relocated to the Old Vic for a brief initial stint. Last month the Royal Court announced that, due to building delays, it would be unable to meet its 7 January 2000 opening date. McPherson's Dublin Carol will now open on 15 January at the Old Vic, where it will play until 12 February. The production will then transfer to the, hopefully ready, Royal Court Theatre Downstairs to complete its run from 17 February to 18 March.
There will be only 29 performances of Dublin Carol mounted at the Old Vic, and they will be rather special as the audience will join the company on the stage to create a highly intimate setting. Despite the draw of such a unique theatre experience, Royal Court spokesperson Giselle Glasman urges audiences to wait for the play's transfer to the Sloane Square venue if possible. The production, she told Whatsonstage.com, was written and developed with the Royal Court in mind and will have special resonance in the theatre where McPherson's signature drama, The Weir, was first performed.
Dublin Carol reunites McPherson with director Ian Rickson and designer Rae Smith and lighting designer Paule Constable, the creative team that helped to make the Olivier Award-winning The Weir, still playing at the West End's Duke of York's, such a success. It tells the story of an alcoholic man whose estranged daughter offers him a final chance for redemption and stars Brian Cox with Bronagh Gallagher and Andrew Scott. Cox previously starred in McPherson's one-man show, St Nicholas, at London's Bush Theatre and subsequently at New York's Primary Stages.
The building delays also mean that openings for the rest of the Royal Court's homecoming season have been pushed back. In the Theatre Downstairs, Jim Cartwright's Hard Fruit, directed by James Macdonald, will now run 31 March to 6 May; and Martin Crimp's The Country, directed by Katie Mitchell, will run 11 May to 17 June. In the Theatre Upstairs, Kia Corthron's Breath, Boom, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, will run 21 February to 11 March; Christopher Shinn's Other People, directed by Dominic Cooke, will run 17 March to 1 April; and Gary Mitchell's The Force of Change, directed by Robert Delamere, will run 6 to 29 April.
The Royal Court has been undergoing a massive, £25m refurbishment for the past three years. During the closure, it has continued to produce new work in the West End at the Duke of York's and the Ambassadors Theatres. The Sloane Square home was originally due to reopen in May 1998. This is the theatre's fourth postponement.