Illness Forces Critical Delay for Fiennes' Talking CureDate: 11 December 2002
The press night tomorrow (12 December 2002, following previews from 6 Dec) at the National's Cottesloe Theatre for the world premiere of Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure, in which Ralph Fiennes (pictured) stars as Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung The Talking Cure, has been cancelled due to the poor health of Fiennes' co-star James Hazeldine.
Hazledine was taken ill yesterday and is receiving treatment for an undisclosed condition. A National Theatre spokesperson said the actor would not be able to continue in the role, which is now being urgently recast. Last night, his part was read by fellow cast member Dominic Rowan who will do the same for tonight's performance, which critics will no longer attend.
The spokeswoman said it was as yet uncertain whether any future performances may be cancelled. Theatregoers who have booked tickets are advised to call the National box office (020 7452 3000) on the day to check the latest status. New press nights have not yet been scheduled. These will depend on the recast and are likely to be staggered as the majority of the run to 5 February 2003 has long sold out on the strength of Fiennes' name.
The Talking Cure deals with the early years of Jung (Fiennes) and his decision to experiment, using Freud's controversial new method of psycho-analysis, with a young Russian patient, Sabine Spielrein. The success of the experiment and the blossoming of his relationship with Sabine (May) inaugurates, haunts and ultimately poisons Jung's relationship with Freud (Hazeldine).
Fiennes was last seen on the London stage in 2000 when he led the Almeida's celebrated Shakespeare double bill - Coriolanus and Richard II - at the Gainsborough Studios in Shoreditch. Prior to that, his 1995 title turn in a Hackney-based Hamlet, again for the Almeida, won him a Tony and a New York Drama Desk Best Actor Award when it transferred to Broadway.
Fiennes' award-winning film work includes Schindler's List, The End of the Affair, Onegin, The English Patient, Quiz Show, Oscar and Lucinda and Strange Days. Amongst his other theatre credits are, for the National, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Father and Sons and Ting Tang Mine, and for the RSC, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Troilus and Cressida and Love's Labour Lost. In April 2003, the actor will return to the Royal Shakespeare Company, which he first joined in 1988, to take the title role in Ibsen's Brand, as one of the final productions by outgoing artistic director Adrian Noble.
Christopher Hampton is one of the UK's most successful playwrights. His original stage work includes Tales from Hollywood, Total Eclipse, The Philanthropist, Savages and Treats while amongst his many hit adaptations are Art, The Unexpected Man, Enemy of the People and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
The Talking Cure is directed by Howard Davies and designed by Tim Hatley, with costumes by Jenny Beaven, lighting by Peter Mumford, music by Dominic Muldowney and sound by Christopher Shutt. In addition to Fiennes and Rowan, the cast also includes Jodhi May, Nancy Carroll and Valerie Spelman.
- by Terri Paddock