Air Replaces Campbell in Monologues Cast, 25 MarDate: 13 March 2002
Donna Air (pictured) will replace supermodel Naomi Campbell in the next cast of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, now back at the New Ambassadors Theatre in the West End. Air is joined by comedienne Jackie Clune and actress Jenny Jules for a four-week season from 25 March 2002.
Air is best known as a TV presenter, having fronted shows for MTV and Nickelodeon as well as The Big Breakfast. Her screen acting credits have included Byker Grove, Still Crazy, Supply and Demand and Truth or Dare. The Vagina Monologues will mark her West End debut.
Clune's stand-up shows have included Showstoppers, Chicks with Flicks, It's Jackie and, most recently at the Arts Theatre, Bitchin'. Jules is currently appearing in The Promise at the Tricycle Theatre. The new threesome takeover from Scary Spice Mel B, Scottish comedian Rhona Cameron and the Lithuanian star Ingeborga Dapkunaite.
Originally seen Off-Off Broadway in 1996, the award-winning Vagina Monologues was first seen in London in 1999 when it ran for a six-week season at the fringe King's Head Theatre. During that UK outing, a special Valentine's Day performance, repeating a similar affair run the year before in New York, was mounted at the West End's Old Vic Theatre. Joining Ensler on stage for the V-Day celebration were a host of British and American actresses, including Kate Winslet, Natasha McElhone, Melanie Griffiths, Marisa Tomei, Cate Blanchett, Calista Flockhart, Gillian Anderson and Jane Lapotaire.
The current West End production of Ensler's show opened at the New Ambassadors Theatre in May 2001 where it closed on 22 September before re-opening a month later at the Arts Theatre. It 23 February 2002, before transferring back to the New Ambassadors Theatre on 26 February. The show received a 2002 Laurence Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment.
A special one-off charity performance, billed as V-Day UK, will be held at the Royal Albert Hall on 5 April 2002 - with proceeds going to a variety of women's charities. Once again a constellation of stars - actresses, as well as models, singers, musicians and other performers - are expected. A full cast list for the gala won't be available until closer to the time, however, if the Monologues roll call to date is anything to go by, it's sure to be a hugely high profile event.
During its run to date, the production has featured regularly refreshed three-strong companies, which have included stars such as Ruthie Henshall, Loretta Swit, Jerry Hall, Pam Ferris, Jenny Éclair, Maureen Lipman, Edie Falco, Sophie Okenodo, Mariella Frostrup, Amy Irving, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dannii Minogue, Kika Markham, Meera Syal, Sophie Dahl, Miriam Margolyes, Suzanne Bertish, Elizabeth McGovern, Nina Wadia, Helen Lederer and Lauren Ward. The current cast features soul singer Lisa Stansfield, Celia Noble and Anita Dobson.
The Vagina Monologues, subtitled "An Anthropological Exploration", reveals a series of different women's stories and experiences involving their genitalia. The material was gathered from hundreds of intimate interviews, conducted by Ensler, in which women were asked probing questions such as "If it (your vagina) could talk, what would it say?".
- by Terri Paddock