Lesley Joseph and Edward Hardwicke star in the first major stage production of Alan Bennett's Office Suite, which embarks on a regional tour this week. The Theatre Royal Bath production opens on 11 February 2003 in Bath before continuing until 5 April to seven further venues.

Televised in 1978, Office Suite is a double bill of one-act plays, set in a pre-internet era of filing, form-filling and back-biting. In A Visit from Miss Prothero, after 30 years at Warburtons retiree Arthur Dodsworth is happily pottering at home when Miss Prothero stops by unexpectedly to fill him in on office gossip. In Green Forms, Doris and Doreen are up to their eyes in forms of different colours and can't remember which goes where.

Best known as Dorien from nine series of Birds of a Feather on TV, Lesley Joseph's stage credits include Annie, The Vagina Monologues, The Miser, Wonderful Town, Exclusive Yarns and her one-woman show Singular Woman.

Hardwick is familiar for his decade as Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes while his other screen credits include Colditz, Ruth Rendell, Dangerfield, Elizabeth and Shadowlands. He also spent seven years at the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier and has more recently been seen on stage in productions of Retreat from Moscow, The Gathering Storm and The Winslow Boy.

Alan Bennett's many other plays, for both stage and screen, include Forty Years On, Habeas Corpus, The Madness of George III, The Lady in the Van, Single Spies and his acclaimed series of monologues, Talking Heads.

Office Suiteis directed by Lawrence Till and designed by Richard Foxton with lighting by Nick Beadle. Following Bath, the production visits Guildford, Coventry, Stratford, Chelmsford, Cambridge and Cheltenham, with further dates to be confirmed.

- by Terri Paddock