The Real Thing deals with love, marriage and adultery. In shifting perspectives, couples founder and reform, and joy and passion are acutely countered by pain and deception. 'You want to give it time,' says Annie to Henry, her married lover. 'Time to go wrong, change, spoil. Then you know it wasn't the real thing.'
Stephen Dillane, star of the feature film Welcome to Sarajevo, plays Henry. Dillane returns to the Donmar following his role last year in Endgame. Jennifer Ehle, who plays Annie, is best known for her film features such as the recently released This Year's Love and her television roles in serials such as BBC1's Pride and Prejudice, for which she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in 1996.
Dillane and Ehle are joined by Sarah Woodward (Charlotte), Nigel Lindsay (Max), Mark Bazeley (Billy), Caroline Hayes (Debbie) and Joshua Henderson (Brodie).
The Real Thing is directed by David Leveaux, newly appointed as an associate director of the Donmar Warehouse. It is his third production for the theatre, following the musical Nine in 1996 and the 1997 Olivier award-winning production of Electra, starring Zoe Wanamaker, which also transferred to Broadway. Design is by Vicky Mortimer, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by John A Leonard.
Tom Stoppard has recently won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his screenplay of the film Shakespeare in Love. His recent theatre work includes Arcadia (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1993), Indian Ink (1995) and The Invention of Love (Evening Standard Award for Best Play, 1997).