The Royal Court's premiere of Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth follows the theatre's production of Caryl Churchill's Far Away into the West End next month. As with Far Away, which had an eight-week West End season in January and February, Mouth to Mouth will play at the Albery Theatre where it opens on 16 May 2001.

Mouth to Mouth, directed by Court artistic director Ian Rickson and starring Lindsay Duncan, has just completed a successful five-week run at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, where it opened on 6 February (previews from 1 February).

The play - set in a garden in Balham, south London, in summertime - concerns a homecoming. Against a backdrop of birds, lawnmowers and children at play, old friends Frank and Laura make bitter small talk, never daring to bring out in the open the tragedy that occurred the previous summer.

Duncan, a respected stage actress, has recently appeared in The Homecoming (National) and Celebration (Almeida). She is joined in the cast by Barnaby Kay, Michael Maloney, Andrew McKay, Lucy Whybrow, Ian Gelder and Peter Wright.

Mouth to Mouth is Elyot's second play for the Royal Court. His first and most famous, My Night with Reg, premiered at the Theatre Upstairs in 1994 before transferring to the Criterion and Playhouse Theatres in the West End. In 1994/95, it won Best Comedy honours at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and led Elyot to also win the Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. Elyot's other plays include Coming Clean (Bush Theatre) and The Day I Stood Still (National).

The last was also directed by Rickson. Mouth to Mouth is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Stephen Warbeck and movement by Quinny Sacks.

Francis Matthews' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, currently running at the Albery with Dawn French and Jemma Redgrave, is due to complete its run on 12 May 2001.

- by Terri Paddock