NT's Three Sisters Reunite for Chekhov after UtopiaDate: 6 May 2003
Eve Best, Anna Maxwell Martin and Lucy Whybrow - who played three of the Bakunin sisters in Tom Stoppard's epic trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, last year - will reunite this summer for another Russian family saga at the National. They will appear in Katie Mitchell's production of Chekhov's Three Sisters, which is due to open at the NT Lyttelton on 12 August 2003 (previews 2 August),fast on the heels of Michael Blakemore's starry West End production, led by Kristin Scott-Thomas, which has recently extended at the Playhouse Theatre to 29 June 2003 (See News, 24 Apr 2003).
In addition to The Coast of Utopia, Best (who plays Masha) has recently been seen on stage in The Heiress, The Cherry Orchard (National) and Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe). She won the 2000 Critics' Circle award for Best Newcomer for her debut, opposite Jude Law, in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore at the Young Vic.
Maxwell Martin (Irina) is currently appearing in the NT Cottesloe opposite Eileen Atkins and Corin Redgrave in Honour, while Whybrow (as sister-in-law Natasha) has been seen in An Enemy of the People, Arcadia, Amadeus and Mouth to Mouth. The cast also includes Lorraine Ashbourne as third Prozorov sister Olga and Dominic Rowan (who recently doubled up with Ralph Fiennes in The Talking Cure) as brother Andrey.
Like Chekhov's other major plays The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, his Three Sisters, written in 1901, is regularly revived. Other major UK productions have been seen in recent years at the West End's Whitehall Theatre (care of Dominic Dromgoole's Oxford Stage Company), at Richmond's Orange Tree and at Chichester Festival. The new National production is directed by Katie Mitchell, who last year won acclaim for her mounting of Chekhov's Ivanov, starring Owen Teale, in the NT Cottesloe.
In other National casting news, Simon Russell Beale will be joined in David Leveaux's revival of Stoppard's Jumpers by Essie Davis (who won this year's Best Supporting Actress Olivier for A Streetcar Named Desire at the National), Nicholas Woodeson, Jonathan Hyde and John Rogan. Jumpers at the NT Lyttelton on 19 June 2003 (previews 7 June).
In the NT Cottesloe, the full cast of Kwame Kwei-Armah's new play Elmina's Kitchen, directed by Angus Jackson, is Paterson Joseph, Shaun Parkes, Dona Croll, George Harris, Emmanuel Idowu and Oscar James. It opens 29 May (previews from 23 May) and is joined in the repertory from 27 June by the premiere of Power, directed by Lindsay Posner. The cast of the Nick Dear play is led by Robert Lindsay, who will now be joined by Rupert Penry-Jones, Barbara Jefford, Stephen Boxer, Hattie Morahan, Jonathan Slinger and Geraldine Somerville.
- by Terri Paddock