In The Lady from Dubuque, a party at which three couples have been playing 20 Questions ends when Jo, the hostess who is dying of cancer, can no longer bear her pain. Afterwards, a mysterious woman, the “lady from Dubuque” (Smith), who claims to be the estranged mother of the hostess, arrives and raises more difficult questions.
The cast also features Catherine McCormack (as Jo), Glenn Fleshler, Robert Sella, Peter Francis James, Vivienne Benesch, Jennifer Regan, and Smith’s real-life son, Chris Larkin. The production is directed by Anthony Page and designed by Hildegard Bechtler.
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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for arrivals at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. First-nighters for The Lady from Dubuque included Rupert Everett, David Tennant, Sophia Myles, Edward Fox, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Marber, David Walliams, Anneka Rice and AA Gill.
The new production, directed by Anthony Page, marks the UK premiere of Albee’s 1980 play, which lasted only 12 performances on Broadway after a savage review in the New York Times. The director, star and playwright have collaborated before: Page directed Smith in Albee’s A Delicate Balance (1966) at the Haymarket in 1997 and in Albee’s Three Tall Women at Wyndham’s in 1994. (Page also directed the recent multi award-winning, Kathleen Turner-led revival of Albee’s best known play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, on Broadway and, last year, in the West End.) Smith was last seen in the West End, again at the Haymarket, in the 2002 world premiere of David Hare’s The Breath of Life.
The Lady from Dubuque is produced in the West End by Robert Fox, Elizabeth McCann and the Shubert Organization. It runs for a limited three-month season to 9 June 2007.
- by Terri Paddock