After a break this month, Tejas Verdes will return to west London’s Gate Theatre for another three weeks in March. The production had an extended, sell-out season from 10 January to 19 February 2005 and will now return from 7 to 26 March 2005.

The first production directed by the Gate’s new artistic director Thea Sharrock, Tejas Verdes is written by one of Spain’s leading contemporary playwrights, Fermin Cabal. Tejas Verdes was the name of a detention and torture centre run by the Chilean Army after the 1973 coup led by General Pinochet. The play traces the life of a young woman who disappeared one night from Santiago in Chile.

For the final performances, Anna Calder-Marshall will replace Gemma Jones as the Gravedigger and Hattie Ladbury will replace Lou Gish as the Spanish Lawyer. Calder Marshall’s credits include Humble Boy, Uncle Vanya, Antigone and A Lie of the Mind. Ladbury has been seen in After Mrs Rochester and Top Girls.

Also in the cast are Emer Gillespie, Diana Hardcastle and Shereen Martineau. The production is designed by Dick Bird with lighting by Mark Jonathan and sound by Adrienne Quartly.

There’s also a cast change in another, albeit very different, Thea Sharrock production, the revival of Noel Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit at the West End’s Savoy Theatre. From 4 April 2005, Stephanie Cole will take over from Penelope Keith as Madam Arcati. Cole’s credits include A Passionate Woman, Equally Divided, Quartet, So Long Life and TV’s Doc Martin.

When novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth hold a séance, what begins as after-dinner entertainment becomes a life-changing experience thanks to eccentric medium Madame Arcati and the ghost of Charles’ first wife, Elvira, who she inadvertently conjures up. The cast will continue to feature Joanna Riding (as Ruth Condomine), Aden Gillett (Charles Condomine) and Amanda Drew (Elvira).

Directed by Sharrock for the Peter Hall Company, Blithe Spirit transferred to the West End on 22 November 2004 (previews from 16 November) following a regional tour and its initial run at the Theatre Royal Bath as part of Hall’s second annual summer repertory season there (See News, 25 Oct 2004). Its limited season at the Savoy continues until 28 May.

- by Terri Paddock