Asher, Lee Miller & Hardy Celebrate Almeida FestenDate: 22 January 2004
Jane Asher (pictured), Johnny Lee Miller and Evening Standard Award winner Tom Hardy will star in the Almeida’s upcoming production of Festen (The Celebration), David Eldridge's new stage version of the 1998 Danish film, which premieres on 25 March 2004 and contines to 24 April 2004 (previews from 18 March).
In Festen, patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Else, his sons Christian and Michael and his daughter. As the evening progresses, Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret.
Asher, who plays Else, has previously been seen on stage in The School for Scandal, Making It Better, Blithe Spirit, Treats, The Philanthropist, The Things We Do for Love, What the Butler Saw and Alan Ayckbourn's simultaneously performed comedies, House and Garden at the National. Her television and film credits include The Volunteer, Paris by Night, Runners, Deep End, Alfie, The Choir and Brideshead Revisited.
Miller and Hardy play brothers Christian and Michael. Though he was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre, Miller is best known for his screen roles in the likes of Trainspotting, Plunkett and Macleane, Mansfield Park, Complicity, Regeneration, Afterglow and Love, Honour and Obey. Hardy debuted on stage last year in In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings (Hampstead) and Blood (Royal Court), for which he won the Evening Standard award for Outstanding Newcomer and has been nominated for both Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Awards. (Click here to vote!)
Also confirmed for the Festen cast are Lisa Palfrey (Mette), Michael Thomas (Helmut), Sam Cox (Paul), Sam Beazley (Grandfather), Ruth Millar (Pia), Gary Oliver (Kim), Andrew Maud (Lars) and Patrick Robinson (Gbatokai).
The production is directed by Rufus Norris (Peribanez, Sleeping Beauty, Afore Night Come) and designed by Ian MacNeil, with costumes by Joan Wadge, lighting by Jean Kalman, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Orlando Gough.
In 1997 Thomas Vinterberg, who initiated the Dogme95 movement alongside fellow director Lars von Trier, directed Festen. The multi-award winning feature film written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov was received with great critical acclaim internationally. The Almeida's production of Festen is presented in association with producer Marla Rubin.
Ahead of Festen, the Almeida hosts the British premiere of Edward Albee’s Tony Award winner The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (See News, 20 Oct 2003). Directed by Anthony Page and starring Jonathan Pryce, Matthew Marsh and Kate Fahy, it runs from 3 February to 13 March 2004 (previews 22 January).
- by Terri Paddock