The Arts Theatre is reopening next month following a prolonged period of refurbishment. The first production will be psychological thriller Toyer, adapted by Gardner McKay from his 1998 novel, which opens on 25 February 2009 (previews from 16 February), running until 11 April.

The Arts has been dark since July 2008, when then director Martin Witts ended his lease. The theatre is now managed by a partnership between investment group Kingdom Entertainment and producers Wimpole Theatre. Former Carl Rosa Opera and Sound Theatre general manager Mig Kimpton has been installed as theatre director (See News, 29 Dec 2009).

Toyer is written by actor-turned-author Gardner McKay and stars Al Weaver (Trevor Nunn’s Hamlet, Coram Boy) alongside Alice Krige, who won an Olivier award in the 1980s for her role in Arms and the Man and has film credits including Chariots of Fire and Star Trek.

When a charming stranger appears at psychiatrist Maude’s apartment late one night, an innocent encounter soon becomes a sexually charged battle of wits. Is he ‘the Toyer’, the sadist who lobotomizes his female victims, or merely a playful admirer? In this dangerous game of cat and mouse, Maude must either outwit her adversary or suffer a diabolical fate.

Toyer directed by William Schoular and designed by Ruari Murchison. It's produced at the Arts by Dodi M. Soames in association with Oliver Royds for PW Productions Ltd.

- by Theo Bosanquet