Canadian film star Donald Sutherland returns to the London stage next month for the first time in 36 years. Sutherland will star with John Rubinstein in the British premiere of French playwright Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigmatic Variations which opens at the Savoy Theatre on 31 May, previews from 24 May 2000.

Sutherland first came to London in the 1960s to study theatre after graduating from the University of Toronto. His early stage roles in London, as part of Perth Rep, included August for the People with Rex Harrison (Royal Court, 1961), The Gimmick (Criterion, 1962) and Spoon River Anthology (Royal Court, 1964). On his return to North America, Sutherland went on to star in over a hundred Hollywood films including The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, Klute, Ordinary People, JFK and the forthcoming Clint Eastwood film, Space Cowboys.

In Enigmatic Variations - an 'examination of love, lies and truth' - Sutherland plays a Noble Prize-winning author who has adamantly steered clear of love, contenting himself with hired sex brought over to his self-imposed exile on a Norwegian island. Having previously refused all requests for interviews, he decides to give in to one. The arrival of the journalist, played by Rubinstein, triggers a cascade of confrontations and discoveries that link the two men.

Broadway veteran Rubinstein won a multitude of best actor awards - including a Tony, Drama Desk and Dramalogue - for his starring role in Children of a Lesser God. His other stage credits include Pippin, Love Letters, Hurlyburly and, most recently, Ragtime.

Directed by Anthony Page, Enigmatic Variations is translated by Roeg Sutherland and designed by Ming Cho Lee. It comes to the UK following sell-out engagements in Los Angeles and Toronto. Prior to the West End, it will play at the Malvern Festival Theatre from 12-20 May.