Nixon's Nixon Replaces Annis' Ghosts at ComedyDate: 14 June 2001
Move over Stones in His Pockets, a new two-man band is heading to town. The award-winning hit of the 1999 Edinburgh Festival, Russell Lees' Nixon's Nixon enjoyed subsequent successes at London's Bridewell Theatre and the World Stage Festival in Tornonto. It will open at the West End's Comedy Theatre on 23 July 2001, following previews from 16 July. The two-hander replaces the production of Ibsen's Ghosts, starring Francesca Annis, which opened at the Comedy on 13 April and finishes at the end of its current booking period on 14 July.
On the morning of 8 August 1974, Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, resigned in order to avoid impeachment, the scandals of Watergate having finally caught up with him. The evening before, Nixon organised a private meeting with his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Nixon's Nixon speculates on what took place during that exchange between two of the most powerful men in the world.
Starring Tim Donohoe and Keith Jochim and directed by Charles Towers Watergate, the political tale, billed as both a comedy and a drama, was a huge success at the Edinburgh Fringe two years ago, winning one of the Scotsman's prestigious Fringe First Awards.
When it opened in two months ago, Ghosts - a new version by Richard Harris directed by Robin Phillips - marked the stage return of Annis after a six-year absence. Set in Norway, the drama takes place in Mrs Alving's country house, where she's preparing for the opening of an orphanage, a memorial to her late husband. Mrs Alving's son Oswald, an artist, returns home for the celebrations. A story of love, betrayal and hypocrisy gradually unfolds as ghosts from the past come back to haunt the family.
Annis, who plays Mrs Alving, was last seen in London in 1995 playing opposite her now-partner Ralph Fiennes in Hamlet at the Hackney Empire. The production subsequently transferred to Broadway. She is also well known for her television appearances in Wives and Daughters and Reckless, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA for three years running.
Annis is joined in the cast of Ghosts by Martin Hutson, Anthony Andrews, Robin Soans and Sarah Tansey. Ghosts is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with lighting by John B Read and sound by Whizz. It is produced by Bill Kenwright.