Art author Yasmina Reza’s latest, Life x 3, will transfer to the West End next month. The French comedy opened on 7 December 2000 at the National’s Lyttelton, where it finished its sell-out run today (16 January 2001). It reopens – with its original star-studded cast of Matthew Rylance, Imelda Staunton, Harriet Walter and Oliver Cotton – at the Old Vic on 12 February and continues there until 5 May 2001.

Life x 3 revolves around two cosmologists and their wives who clash in three alternative tellings of an evening’s events. Henri (Rylance) and Sonia (Walter) are putting their young son to bed when a knock at the door throws them into disarray. Hubert (Cotton) and Ines (Staunton) have arrived for dinner, a day earlier than expected and bearing unwelcome news.

The production reunites the French playwright with translator Christopher Hampton, director Matthew Warchus and designer Mark Thompson. The team were responsible for Reza's international hits, The Unexpected Man and Art, which recently celebrated its fourth birthday at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre. Another Reza play, Conversations After a Burial, also translated by Hampton, was recently mounted at the Almeida Theatre.

Rylance is best known these days as the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. His performances there have included the title roles in Henry V and Hamlet as well as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. His other theatre work includes many roles for the RSC, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in the West End, and the alternating roles of two brothers in Sam Shephard's True West at the Donmar Warehouse.

Staunton’s extensive stage work includes Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville), Into the Woods (Phoenix), Habeas Corpus (Donmar), Guys and Dolls (National) and A Chorus of Disapproval, for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress (also at the National). Her many TV and film appearances include Up the Garden Path, The Singing Detective, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter's Friends and Sense and Sensibility.

Walter’s stage credits include Olivier Award-winning performances in Twelfth Night, A Question of Geography and Three Sisters, while Cotton has become a regular with the NT Ensemble, appearing in the recent productions of Money, Summerfolk, Troilus and Cressida and The Villain’s Opera.

Life x 3 also features lighting design by Hugh Vanstone, music by Gary Yershon and sound by Christopher Shutt.

- by Terri Paddock