Born near Manchester in 1941, Warner was a stage regular in the 1960s, particularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where his work included The Wars of the Roses and title roles in Henry VI, Richard II and a landmark Hamlet. His last UK stage appearance was in 1972 in the RSC's production of I, Claudius. The actor only returned to the theatre last year when he made his New York stage debut in a production of Major Barbara.
In the three intervening decades since his withdrawal from the stage, Warner remained a regular on film and television, where his wide-ranging credits have included Tom Jones, The Omen, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Company of Wolves, The Planet of the Apes, Holocaust, Twin Peaks, The Choir and Hornblower.
The Feast of Snails, a new play by Icelandic playwright Olaf Olafsson, received generally poor reviews earlier this week. It tells the story of a highly successful business tycoon, played by Warner, who's preparing for a solitary gourmet feast in his sumptuous home when his plans are disrupted the arrival of a young stranger.
Warner is joined in the cast by Philip Glenister (whose TV credits include Clocking Off, Roger, Roger, My Wonderful Life and Soldier, Soldier) and Sorcha Cusack (who recently appeared in The Playboy of the Western World at the National).
Author Olafsson was born in Reykjavik and now lives in New York City. He's also the author of two novels, The Journey Home and Absolution. The Feast of Snails is directed by honorary RSC artistic director Ron Daniels and designed by Ashley Martin-Davis, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard.
The revival of Denise Deegan's Daisy Pulls It Off is expected to follow The Feast of Snails into the Lyric. Daisy has already confirmed that it will open in the West End on 29 April (previews from 18 April), and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, who produces it, said they hoped to bring it into one of the Really Useful theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue. The Lyric had already been mentioned as a possibility and, now that it's available, looks certain to host the revival of the popular girls' school comedy.
- by Terri Paddock