Sherís Directing Debut Mugabe Moves to DuchessDate: 24 April 2006
Actor Antony Sher will make his West End directing debut next month when his production of Fraser Graceís new play Breakfast with Mugabe transfers for a limited season at the Duchess Theatre, where it will run from 3 May to 10 June 2006.
The play portrays the combative relationship between the controversial Zimbabwean president, who is suffering from depression, and his fictional psychiatrist, who is white and, outside of therapeutic sessions, is directly affected by the countryís problems. Zimbabwean-born Graceís previous plays include Who Killed Mr Drum? (which he co-wrote with Sylvester Stein and ran last year at Riverside Studios) and Perpetua.
Breakfast with Mugabe was first seen last October as part of the Royal Shakespeare Companyís second annual New Work Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. Along with several of the other new plays from Stratford (See News, 15 Dec 2005), it transferred this year for a brief stint at Londonís Soho Theatre, where it finished this past weekend.
South African-born Sher is best known for his own on-stage appearances, many of them for the RSC, including The Winter's Tale, Cyrano de Bergerac, Richard III, Stanley, King Lear, The Roman Actor, The Malcontent and, more recently, Othello.
Sher made his playwriting debut at the Almeida in 2003 with I.D., in which he played the assassin of former South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd, which he followed up, at the National in 2004, with Primo, a one-man play adapted from the memoirs of Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, which he performed in London and New York.
In Breakfast with Mugabe, Sher directs a cast led by Joseph Mydell (pictured) as Robert Mugabe, with Noma Dumezweni (who won this yearís Olivier for Best Supporting Performance for A Raisin in the Sun) as his wife, David Rintoul as the psychiatrist and Christopher Obi as an aide to Mugabe.
The RSC production is designed by Colin Richmond, with lighting by Wayne Dowdeswell, sound by Martin Slavin and music by Chartwell Dutiro. Itís presented in the West End by Thelma Holt (who is also currently co-producing the RSC transfer of Arthur Millerís The Crucible at the Gielgud) and Nica Burns for Nimax Theatres.
- by Terri Paddock