The Royal Court’s ten-week season of rehearsed readings as part of the venue’s year-long 50th anniversary celebrations draws to a close in a fortnight’s time (See News, 11 Oct 2005). Since commencing on 16 January 2006 in the 100-seat Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, the readings have attracted a long list of top name actors and proved a complete sell-out, despite the last-minute nature of most of the casting announcements (See The Goss, 6 Feb 2006).

50 Readings, 50 Writers, 50 Years features some of the most famous plays from the theatre’s history, performed in many cases by members of the original casts.

Details have come through this week about some of the remaining readings, including: Kelly Reilly and Neil Dudgeon in Sarah Kane’s Blasted (from 1995) on Monday 13 March; Tom Hollander, Andy Serkis and Marc Warren in Mojo (also 1995), by Jez Butterworth whose latest, The Winterling, premiered last night Downstairs, on Tuesday 14 March; Juliet Stevenson in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden (1991) on Saturday 18 March; and Michael Gambon and Michael Sheen in Caryl Churchill’s A Number (2002) on Wednesday 22 March.

Amongst the other actors who’ve taken part in the series have been: Robert Lindsay, Julie Walters, Matthew Macfadyen, Ben Whishaw, Neil Morrissey, Helen McCrory, Amanda Drew, Denise Black and Jane Horrocks. 50 Readings, 50 Writers, 50 Years concludes with Conor McPherson’s 2004 drama Shining City on Friday 24 March 2006.

Following the readings, the first full production of the 50th anniversary year in the Theatre Upstairs will be Simon Farquhar’s Rainbow Kiss, running from 5 April to 6 May 2006. In his Aberdeen flat, a young man stakes everything on a one-night stand. But does she give a fuck? In a man's world today, work can be meaningless and emasculating, drink and drugs are the only painkillers, and cheap sex can cost you everything. Richard Wilson directs Joe McFadden, Graham McTavish Clive Russell and Dawn Steele in the premiere, which is Farquhar’s first play for the Royal Court.

- by Terri Paddock