Gray's Middle Classes Premieres in WatfordDate: 8 February 1999
Simon Gray's new play, The Late Middle Classes, will receive its world premiere at the Palace Theatre Watford. The production, directed by Harold Pinter, will run at the Palace from 24 March to 10 April (previews from 19 March) and will then embark on a UK regional tour to Brighton, Plymouth, Bath, Woking and Richmond before an expected transfer to the West End.
Promoters are being purposely vague regarding the content of the new piece, saying only that, though set in the 1950s, it deals with 'fairly modern issues' as it delves beneath the surface of middle class respectability to study the conflict between emotional needs and family restraint. The Late Middle Classes stars Harriet Walter, James Fleet, Nicholas Woodeson and Angela Pleasance.
It is followed by the rest of the Palace's spring 1999 season whcih includes a new play by actress Eileen Atkins, a comic revival of Jane Austen's Emma and a new improvised show as well as various touring productions.
Atkins' play Vita and Virginia, directed by Maria Aitken, charts the relationship between Bloomsbury stalwarts Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf through the pair's intriguing letters. It plays 21 April to 15 May.
Emma, playing 28 May to 19 June, gets a makeover in an adaptation by Martin Millar and Doon MacKichan which is billed as 'fast, fun and full of masterful comic performances...Jane Austen as you've never seen her before.' It's directed by Guy Retallack.
Each performance is unique with a new improvised show entitled Passport to Danger, based on an original idea by Peter Wear. Every night the audience is granted access to a secret file from the Ministry of Further Information (MFI) and helps to determine what happens next. Passport to Danger runs 25 June to 10 July and features Paul Rogan, John Voce and Suki Webster.