Eccleston & Stephens Join Andersonís Doll HouseDate: 27 March 2009
Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston (pictured) will return to the London stage for the first time in nearly a decade to star opposite Gillian Anderson in the Donmar Warehouse’s much-anticipated production of Ibsen's A Doll's House, which runs from 19 May to 18 July 2009 (previews from 14 May) at the theatre’s Covent Garden home base. Others announced today for the stellar company include Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald and Anton Lesser.
The production is directed by Kfir Yefet, who won the BAFTA for Best Short Film for It’s Not Unusual. Anderson's casting has been known for some time, since the production was announced last summer (See News, 27 Jun 2008).
Nora (Anderson) thought she had the perfect life until a ghost from the past returns, and makes her realise she’s stuck in a suffocating marriage. In this new version of Ibsen's 1879 classic, written by Further Than the Furthest Thing’s Zinnie Harris, the action takes place against the backdrop of British politics at the turn of the last century, in a world where duty, power and hypocrisy rule.
Chistopher Eccleston (who plays Neil Kelman) became familiar to millions of TV fans as the ninth Doctor in long-running BBC series Doctor Who in 2005, before handing over to David Tennant. Eccleston was last seen in the West End in the 2000 Haymarket revival of Strindberg’s Miss Julie – a return three years ago, in Marlowe’s School of Night at the Comedy Theatre, was called off at short notice (See News, 9 Jan 2006). His many other stage credits include Hamlet (at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 - pictured) Abingdon Square, Bent, Dona Rosita and A Streetcar Named Desire. In addition to Doctor Who, Eccleston has been on film and television in the likes of Shallow Grave, Jude, Elizabeth, Cracker, Our Friends in the North, 24 Hour Party People, Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Others, Hillsborough, 28 Days Later, The Second Coming and Clocking Off.
Toby Stephens (Thomas) was last at the Donmar in 2007 when he played Jerry in Roger Michell's production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, alongside Samuel West and Dervla Kirwan. His other recent stage credits include The Country Wife at the Haymarket and Hamlet for the RSC. On film, he's best known for his role as Gustav Graves in 2002 Bond film Die Another Day,whilst his myriad TV credits include Robin Hood, Jane Eyre and Cambridge Spies.
Tara Fitzgerald (Christine Lyle) is best known for her work in films including Brassed Off, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain and Sirens. On stage, she played Nora in a 2004 production of A Doll’s House at Birmingham Rep. Her other credits include Ophelia in Hamlet opposite Ralph Fiennes (1995), A Streetcar Named Desire, Clouds and And Then There Were None in the West End.
Anton Lesser’s (Dr Rank) many stage credits - at the RSC, the National and elsewhere - include Julius Caesar, The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, Richard II, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Taming of the Shrew, The Lucky Ones, Private Lives, The Birthday Party and Art. Most recently, he was seen in the UK premiere of David Hare’s The Vertical Hour last year at the Royal Court.
The Doll’s House cast is completed by Maggie Wells (Annie). The production is designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone. Just opened this week at the Donmar Warehouse, Douglas Hodge’s revival of Athol Fugard’s Dimetos, starring Jonathan Pryce, continues until 28 July (See 1st Night Photos, 26 Mar 2009).
- by Theo Bosanquet & Terri Paddock