As previously tipped (See The Goss, 31 Dec 2004), Jim Broadbent (pictured) will star in the upcoming stage adaptation of schlock horror flick Theatre of Blood. The collaboration between the National and Improbable Theatre, of "junk opera" Shockheaded Peter renown, opens at the NT Lyttelton on 19 May 2005 (previews from 9 May).

Broadbent will play Edward Lionheart, a disgruntled Shakespearean thesp who returns from the grave to take murderously poetic revenge on the sniping drama critics he believes robbed him of his rightful acting prize. In the 1973 cult film, the late Vincent Price hammed it up as Edward with a young Diana Rigg playing his devoted daughter Edwina Lionheart.

Broadbent was last seen on stage at the NT Cottesloe in the similarly macabre The Pillowman, in which he played a sadistic cop investigating a series of gruesome child murders based on short stories. He won last year’s Whatsonstage.com Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in the Martin McDonagh play. Broadbent’s other stage credits include The Government Inspector, A Place with the Pigs (National), Habeas Corpus (Donmar), A Flea in Her Ear (Old Vic) and work with comedy troupe The National Theatre of Brent, of which he was a founder member.

Internationally, Broadbent has become best known for his extensive film and television work which includes The Gathering Storm, Life Is Sweet, Little Voice, Topsy Turvy, Bridget Jones' Diary, Moulin Rouge, Gangs of New York, Nicholas Nickleby and, playing John Bayley opposite Judi Dench as Iris Murdoch, Iris, for which he won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2002.

Theatre of Blood is adapted and directed by Improbable’s Lee Simpson and Phelim McDermott. No further casting has yet been announced.


Meanwhile, at the Donmar Warehouse, ShamelessAnne-Marie Duff and Peter McDonald will star in the new version of JP Miller's Days of Wine and Roses, which runs from 22 February to 2 April 2005 (previews from 17 February).

The play is updated by award-winning Irish playwright Owen McCafferty and directed by Peter Gill, who directed McCafferty’s Scenes from the Big Picture at the National in 2003 (See News, 8 Nov 2004). It was originally commissioned and developed by Caro Newling for Scamp Film and Theatre Ltd, the production company Newling set up with former Donmar artistic director Sam Mendes (See News, 15 Oct 2004).

Donal and Mona leave Belfast for a new start in Swinging Sixties’ London, where they fall in love with life, each other and the drink. Miller's portrait of a couple's alcohol addiction was made into the 1962 film of the same name, starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick.

Duff’s stage credits include The Daughter in Law, A Doll’s House, Collected Stories and Playboy of the Western World. In addition to Shameless, her TV credits include Charles II, Sinners, Dr Zhivago, The Way We Live Now and Amongst Women, while her films are The Magdalene Sisters and Enigma.

McDonald has previously been seen on stage in A Lie of the Mind at the Donmar and, in the West End, in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. His screen credits include When Brendan Met Trudy, Nora, Saltwater and I Went Down. Days of Wine and Roses is designed by Alison Chitty, with lighting by Hartley TA Kemp, music by Terry Davies and sound by Matt McKenzie.

Currently at the Donmar, Michael Grandage’s revival of Broadway musical Grand Hotel continues its sell-out run until 12 February. The theatre has just announced a one-off charity performance in aid of the DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. To maximise the donation, the company and Donmar staff have volunteered to work for free at the late night special, which will take place at 10.45pm on Thursday, after the normal evening performance. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 11 January.

- by Terri Paddock