Northam Relives Old Times, Higgins Plays HecubaDate: 26 March 2004
British screen stars Jeremy Northam (pictured) and Gina McKee will return to the London stage for the Donmar Warehouse’s new production of Harold Pinter’s 1971 memory play Old Times. The revival forms the first part of the Donmar’s newly announced summer season, which also sees Olivier Award winner Clare Higgins take the title role in a new version of Euripides’ Hecuba.
In Pinter’s three-hander, Kate (McKee) and her husband Deeley (Northam) are visited in their converted farmhouse home by Kate’s old college roommate Anna, sparking off a war in which memories – and different versions of the past – are the weapons.
Northam has become best known internationally for films such as Gosford Park, An Ideal Husband, The Golden Bowl, Amistad, The Winslow Boy, Enigma and The Net. His earlier stage credits, for the National, RSC and elsewhere, include The Shaughraun, Hamlet, Gift of the Gorgon and Voysey Inheritance.
McKee has been seen on screen in the likes of The Forsyte Saga, Notting Hill, Our Friends in the North, Wonderland, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble, and on stage in Five Kinds of Silence.
Old Times - which will be directed by Roger Michell, whose recent stage productions include Blue/Orange and Honour - opens at the Donmar on 7 July (previews from 1 July) and continues to 4 September 2004, after which Hecuba, in a new version by Frank McGuinness (Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme), runs from 14 September to 13 November 2004 (previews from 9 September).
In the classic Greek tragedy, Clare Higgins will play Hecuba, who sees her daughter sacrificed and who is later destroyed herself. Higgins scooped a hat trick of Best Actress honours at the Evening Standard, Critics Circle and Olivier awards for her performance in 2002’s Vincent in Brixton, which subsequently transferred to Broadway. Further casting has not yet been announced.
Hecuba will be directed by former Almeida joint artistic director Jonathan Kent, whose fellow former Almeida chief Ian McDiarmid takes the title role in the Donmar’s Henry IV next month. In the autumn, Hecuba will be followed, from 29 November 2004 to 12 February 2005, by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage's revival of the Tony Award-winning musical Grand Hotel (See News, 27 Oct 2003). Currently at the Donmar, the world premiere of Charlotte Jones’ The Dark continues until 26 June.
- by Terri Paddock