Ben Chaplin (pictured), Megan Dodds and Idris Elba will star in the European premiere next month of Neil LaBute’s This Is How It Goes (See News, 8 Nov 2004). The three-hander will open just one week after the world premiere on 24 May 2005 (previews from 12 May) of another play by the contentious American playwright - Some Girls, starring FriendsDavid Schwimmer, at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre (See News, 24 Feb 2005).

Following its limited season, from 31 May to 9 July 2005 (previews from 26 May), at the Donmar, This Is How It Goes will embark on a brief regional tour, visiting Bristol Old Vic (12 to 16 July) and The Lowry at Salford (19 to 23 July). The regional dates - part of artistic director Michael Grandage’s plan to bring the work of the 250-seat London theatre to a wider but targeted audience – follows the theatre’s inaugural tour last year for Grandage’s own production of Pirandello’s Henry IV, starring Ian McDiarmid (See News, 18 Mar 2004).

Set in small-town America, This Is How It Goes centres on an interracial love triangle and questions notions of truth. The UK production – directed by Moises Kaufman (Gross Indecency, The Laramie Project) and designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Fergus O’Hare - follows fast on the heels of George C Wolfe’s world premiere production, which opened last week at New York’s Public Theater.

In the UK production, Chaplin, who plays Man, returns to the Donmar, where he’s previously appeared in The Glass Menagerie. His other stage credits include Peaches and, last year on Broadway, Retreat from Moscow, for which he was Tony-nominated. His films include Stage Beauty, Birthday Girl, Lost Souls, The Thin Red Line, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Remains of the Day and the upcoming Chromophobia with Ralph Fiennes and Penelope Cruz. On TV, he’s been seen in Game On!.

Dodds, who plays Woman, has been seen on stage in Popcorn, Hamlet, As You Like It (opposite Gywneth Paltrow at the US’s Williamstown Theatre Festival) and, this month, My Name is Rachel Corrie at the Royal Court. Her screen credits include Ever After and TV’s Spooks. Elba, who plays Cody, has been seen on screen in Sometimes in April (about the Rwandan genocide) and the US television series The Wire.

In London, prior to This Is How It Goes and Some Girls, LaBute had become most closely associated with the Almeida Theatre, where his plays The Mercy Seat, The Shape of Things, The Distance from Here and bash have all had premieres in recent years. In addition to his stage work, LaBute is an accomplished screenwriter and director whose films include Possession, Your Friends and Neighbours, Nurse Betty, In the Company of Men and The Shape of Things.

Ahead of This Is How It Goes, the Donmar revives David Greig’s lyrical 1999 play, The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, in which two forgotten cosmonauts orbit a world which can’t hear them. Directed by Tim Supple, with a cast including Michael Pennington and Sean Campion (See News, 4 Mar 2005), it runs from 12 April to 21 May 2005 (previews from 7 April).

- by Terri Paddock