Kathy Burke will no longer direct Dying for It at the Almeida as previously reported (See News, 3 Nov 2006). Due to Burke falling ill, Moira Buffini’s adaptation of Nikolai Erdman’s satirical comedy The Suicide will now be directed by Anna Mackmin.

Dying for It opens as previously announced on 15 March 2007 (previews from 8 March, for a run to 28 April. Inspired by Erdman’s classic comedy, which was banned by Stalin before a single performance, Dying for It centres on Semyon, unemployed, living in the hallway and watching his wife Masha slave all the hours God sends. When his last hope to earn a crust and gain some self-respect disappears, he decides to take his own life. Word gets out of his intention and he finds himself inundated with visitors begging him to die on their behalf. On the night he is to shoot himself they hold a party, at which point events spiral to a glorious climax.

Anna Mackmin, who has been an associate director at Sheffield Crucible and The Gate, made her Almeida Theatre directorial debut with Charlotte Jones’ The Lightning Play in November 2006. Most recently she directed Ghosts at the Gate Theatre. Her other directorial credits include Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship (National Theatre), Mammals (Bush and UK tour), Breathing Corpses (Royal Court), The Dark (Donmar Warehouse), and Auntie and Me and In Flame in the West End.

The cast of Dying for It includes Tom Brooke (Semyon), Susan Brown (Serafima), Dominic Charles-Rouse (Stepan Vasilievich), Gil Cohen-Alloro (Oleg Leonidovich), Charlie Condou (Viktor), Michelle Dockery (Kleopatra), Barnaby Kay (Alexander), Paul Rider (Yegor), Tony Rohr (Father Yelpidy), Sophie Stanton (Margarita), Ronan Vibert (Aristarch) and Liz White (Masha). The play is designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Neil Austin, music by Stephen Warbeck, sound by John Leonard and choreography by Scarlett Mackmin.

- by Caroline Ansdell