The production first opened at the West End’s Comedy Theatre on 21 January 2004 (previews from 15 January), 75 years (to the day) since its first West End season at the Savoy Theatre (See News, 12 Dec 2003). It transferred to the Playhouse Theatre in May 2004 and then, in October 2004, moved on to the Duke of York’s, where it had its final extension earlier this year, finishing on 19 February. Separately, Journey's End has toured the UK extensively.
Based on the author's own experience in the trenches of the First World War, Journey's End follows a group of officers, positioned behind British lines at St Quentin, France, and awaiting their fate.
Casting for the new West End season has not yet been announced. Previous companies have included David Haig, Paul Bradley, Phil Cornwell, Christian Coulson, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Malcolm Sinclair and Philip Franks, who earlier this year reprised his role as Osborne in the play on its regional tour, which, now recast, concludes on 4 June 2005 at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre.
Journey's End is directed by David Grindley, whose other West End credits include Abigail’s Party, National Anthems (currently at the Old Vic with Kevin Spacey) and Some Girls (opening next month at the Gielgud with David Schwimmer). It’s designed by Jonathan Fensom and presented by Background Productions.
Opening tomorrow night (19 April, previews from 13 April) at the New Ambassadors is another Background production, the first major London revival of Frank McGuinness’ 1992 play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (See News, 7 Mar 2005). Inspired by the real-life political kidnapping of John McCarthy, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite in Lebanon, the play traces the shifting relationships between three hostages – an Irishman, an Englishman and an American – held in a Middle Eastern jail.
The McGuinness’ three-hander is directed by Oxford Stage company artistic director Dominic Dromgoole and stars Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Gillen and David Threlfall. Its limited season is due to continue until 18 June 2005.
- by Terri Paddock