Woman in Mind opened at the Vaudeville, where the original London production was presented, on 6 February 2009 (previews from 29 January) and had initially been booking until 31 May (See News, 8 Dec 2008). The production had a limited run at in Scarborough last September as part of the Ayckbourn’s farewell season as the Stephen Joseph’s artistic director (See News, 10 Jul 2008).
Janie Dee last worked with Ayckbourn ten years ago on, arguably, the biggest hit of her career to date: playing an android in Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential, which earned her Best Actress trophies at the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Laurence Olivier Awards. That production, which Ayckbourn also directed, opened first at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, where the playwright has been the artistic director for the past 36 years, before transferring to the West End.
In Woman in Mind, forty-something Susan (Dee) is starved of affection by her vicar husband and distant son. Following a bump on the head care of an accident with a rake, Susan is confronted with not just her real family but also an imaginary one that’s far more devoted.
Dee’s many other West End credits include Donkey Years, Carousel, My One and Only, Mack & Mabel, Betrayal and, most recently, Shadowlands with Charles Dance. Dee is joined in the cast by Ayckbourn regulars Bill Champion, Stuart Fox and Paul Kemp. Also in the company are Perdita Avery, Dominic Hecht and Martin Parr. Woman in Mind is produced in the West End by Bill Kenwright, who also revived Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular at the Garrick Theatre last year.
The Almeida’s revival of Tom Kempinski’s two-hander Duet for One, which stars Henry Goodman and Juliet Stevenson, opens for a 12-week season at the Vaudeville on 12 May 2009 (previews from 7 May), following a brief regional tour (See News, 13 Mar 2008).
- by Terri Paddock