Twenty-five years after graduation, six former students return to their university college for a reunion dinner. While their lives may have had varying degrees of success, all are connected by a common past. Locked in college for the night, the graduates begin to relive their youth, with all its chaotic friendships and feuds.
Samantha Bond, who plays Lady Driver, has been seen on the London stage in Dinner with Friends, The Memory of Water, Macbeth (opposite Sean Bean), A Woman of No Importance and, most recently, The Rubenstein Kiss. She also played the title role, opposite Dame Judi Dench, in David Hare's Amy's View at the National, in the West End and on Broadway. On screen, she's best recognised as playing Miss Moneypenny in various James Bond films.
David Haig, who plays Christopher Headingly, has starred in the West End in Journey’s End, Hitchcock Blonde, Life x 3, Art, Dead Funny and House and Garden. Making the switch to musicals, he was seen most recently as Mr Banks in Mary Poppins, for which he was Whatsonstage.com and Olivier-nominated. He's also familiar from screen roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Thin Blue Line.
Mark Addy (pictured), who plays Kenneth Snell, is best known for his film roles in the likes of The Full Monty, The Flintstones, A Knight’s Tale and Around the World in 80 Days as well as TV credits like The Thin Blue Line. Earlier in his career, his stage credits included Wild Oats, The Shaughraun, Bartholomew Fair and Ghetto at the National and several John Godber plays. James Dreyfus, who plays Alan Quine, won an Olivier for Lady in the Dark at the National and was most recently seen on the West End stage as Carmen Ghia in The Producers. He’s best known for his screen work in Gimme Gimme Gimme, The Thin Blue Line, Absolutely Fabulous, Notting Hill and Colour Me Kubrick.
The cast for Donkeys' Years also features Jonathan Coy (What the Butler Saw, Democracy) as Norman Tate, Edward Petherbridge (most recently in The Woman in White) as Sydney Birkett and Michael Simkins (Mary Stuart, Democracy, The Old Masters as David Buckle.
Frayn’s other plays include Alarms and Excursions, Alphabetical Order, Clouds, Make or Break, Noises Off, Copenhagen and, most recently, 2003’s multi award-winning Democracy. Donkey’s Years is directed by Jeremy Sams – who revived Frayn’s Benefactors in the West End in 2002 and, at the National in 2000, Noises Off, which later toured extensively and had two runs in the West End - and designed by Peter McKintosh with lighting by Howard Harrison.
Currently at the Comedy, the stage adaptation of TV sitcom Steptoe and Son will finish its run one week early, now closing on 15 April 2006. Donkeys' Years is presented by Sonia Friedman Productions, Tulbart Productions, Boyett/Ostar, Michael Linnit, Lee Menzies and TEG Productions.
- by Terri Paddock