Newly announced guests stars include: multiple Olivier Award winner Henry Goodman (most recently seen on stage in The Hypochondriac and The Birthday Party) from 18 to 23 April, Mackenzie Crook (pictured - The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean on screen, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on stage) from 9 to 14 May, and American Peri Gilpin (Roz from TV’s Fraier from 30 May to 3 June. Meanwhile, Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis has confirmed her appearance in the production, from 2 to 14 May (See News, 3 Feb 2006).
Others already confirmed to appear in the coming weeks include (See News, 23 Mar 2006): Martin Freeman, Michael McShane, Danny Glover, Kate Mulgrew and, for a one-night only charity event in aid of Reprieve, Vanessa Redgrave (4 May). The London season at Riverside Studios opened on 24 February 2006 (previews from 21 February) with American screen stars Aidan Quinn, Stockard Channing and Delroy Lindo in the cast.
The Exonerated was written in 2001 by husband-and-wife team Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, based on interviews with 40 former death row prisoners. It explores the experiences of those wrongfully imprisoned for between two and 22 years. The play was first performed in April 2002 by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang, under the artistic directorship of Hollywood’s Tim Robbins, before transferring to New York. In January 2005, the stage drama was adapted for television and aired on the US’ Court TV channel, starring Quinn, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Susan Sarandon and David Brown Jr.
Meanwhile, at south London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, comedian Norman Pace (Hale and Pace) leads the cast of Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson, which opens on 27 April 2006 (previews from 19 April) for a limited season to 2 July (See News, 24 Mar 2006).
The new comedy is written by Chris England, who, with Arthur Smith, co-wrote the similarly sport-focussed An Evening with Gary Lineker, which was a hit at the West End’s Duchess Theatre in 1991. The new piece follows the elation over England’s victory at the 2003 rugby World Cup, in which flyhalf - and pin-up – Wilkinson played a pivotal role with a drop goal just 26 seconds from the end of extra-time in the championship match.
England also appears in the production, which also features by Tony Bell (A Man for All Seasons, Propeller’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale and Rose Rage), Beth Cordingly, Abi Tucker, Michael Beckley and Kevin Wathen. Jonathan Lewis directs.
And in other casting updates:
- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock