Jack Davenport (pictured) and Amanda Drew will star in the David Hare’s new version of Maxim Gorky’s 1906 play Enemies at the Almeida Theatre. Directed by Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, it is the final production in the theatre’s 2005/6 season and runs from 11 May to 24 June 2006 (previews from 5 May).

Originally outlawed in his native Russia, Gorky’s drama is set on a provincial family estate where the liberal-minded owner’s brother is killed in a scuffle with one of the estate’s militant factory workers. Gorky’s other plays include Summerfolk, The Lower Depths, Children of the Sun, Barbarians and Vassa, which was revived by the Almeida in 1999.

Jack Davenport’s most recent stage credits include How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Servant. He’s best known for his screen credits which include Coupling and This Life on TV, and Pirates of the Caribbean, The Libertine and The Talented Mr Ripley on film. Amanda Drew’s West End credits include Otherwise Engaged, Blithe Spirit and the RSC’s Jacobean season, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer.

Davenport and Drew are joined in Enemies by Amanda Root (Conversations After a Burial at the Almeida), Jodie Whittaker (The Storm at the Globe) and Sean Chapman (Sleep with Me, Angels in America, Rutherford and Son at the National), who plays factory owner Zakhar Bardin.

Enemies is designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Paul Arditti. It’s followed at the theatre, from 27 June to 23 July 2006, by the annual Almeida Opera season.

Across London, further casting has also been confirmed for The Exonerated, the hit Off-Broadway drama about living on death row now receiving its London premiere in a 16-week run (to 11 June 2006) at Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios (See News, 3 Feb 2006).

Newly announced guests stars include: Seventies rock chick Suzi Quattro (18 March to 2 April), Martin Freeman from The Office and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (25 to 30 April) and, for a one-night only charity event for Reprieve, Vanessa Redgrave (4 May). In addition, Catherine Tate remains in the show until this Sunday (26 March) and, from 10 April, Canadian improv king Michael McShane joins the ensemble for the remainder of the run. Dates are also now confirmed for Hollywood’s Danny Glover (11 to 17 April) and Kate Mulgrew (18 to 30 April).

The London season at Riverside Studios opened on 24 February 2006 (previews from 21 February) with American screen stars Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing and Delroy Lindo in the cast. Amongst the previously announced British stars still to appear are: the League of Gentleman’s Steve Pemberton (to 26 March), Charles Dance (28 March to 2 April) and, from 4 to 9 April, Geraldine James and, fresh from his West End musical turn in Guys and Dolls, Nigel Harman. Sunny Jacobs, whose real-life experience on death row is depicted in the play, will return to play herself from 11 to 17 April.

The Exonerated was written in 2001 by husband-and-wife team Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, based on interviews with 40 former death row prisoners. It explores the experiences of those wrongfully imprisoned for between two and 22 years.

The play was first performed in April 2002 by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang, under the artistic directorship of Hollywood’s Tim Robbins, before transferring to New York. In January 2005, the stage drama was adapted for television and aired on the US’ Court TV channel, starring Quinn, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Susan Sarandon and David Brown Jr.

- by Terri Paddock