The acclaimed Paris-based director Peter Brook makes a London appearance this week with his production of Can Themba’s South African township piece, Le Costume (The Suit). The play opens at the Young Vic tomorrow night, 24 January 2001, and continues for ten performances only until 3 February.

Le Costume tells the story of a bizarre ménage à trois – a husband, his wife and a suit. When the man catches his wife in the act, her lover flees but leaves behind his suit. In order to remind his wife forever of her infidelity, the husband keeps the suit, treating it as an honoured guest to the extent of feeding it and even taking it for walks.

The play is performed in French, with English surtitles, by a cast which includes Tania Moodie, Sotigui Kouyate, Herbert Kounde and Cyril Guei. Le Costume is adapted by Barney Simon and Mothobi Mutloatse, with costumes by Chloe Obolensky and lighting by Philippe Vialatte.

Peter Brook, now in his 70s, is one of Britain’s most revered theatre directors, renowned for his experimental re-workings of classic texts such as Shakespeare. In the 1960s, he enjoyed a long association with the RSC, but by the early 1970s, Brook had moved towards an unconventional style which was often considered out of place at subsidised British theatres and in the West End. In 1971, he established the International Centre of Theatre Research (CIRT) in Paris, where he continues to work.

Brook’s many notable successes include celebrated productions of King Lear, Marat/Sade, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cherry Orchard and Carmen. On screen, he is best known for directing the 1963 film adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

Le Costume precedes another expected London run for Brook’s latest Shakespeare re-working. He has cut more than a third from the text of Hamlet and reduced the cast to eight. The company is led by Briton Adrian Lester in the title role. The acclaimed young black actor’s stage credits include Six Degrees of Separation and Company while, on film, he has appeared in Primary Colours, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Maybe Baby.

- by Terri Paddock