The production was due to start performances last Thursday (6 April), but instead that day saw the sudden departure of Nicholls, who had to withdraw on medical advice due to a severe throat infection. As there are no understudies at the 250-seat Donmar, the first week’s performance had to be cancelled.
Meyjes was most recently seen on stage in Measure for Measure at the National and Journey’s End at the West End’s Comedy Theatre. His other credits include Another Country, Hamlet and Twelfth Night on stage and Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War and Cambridge Spies on screen.
The king is missing, presumed dead. His warrior son is braced for inheritance but is betrayed by his heart. Phaedra, the tormented queen, has a terrifying secret that will shake Athens to its core. Based on Euripides’ Hippolytus, Racine’s Phaedra reveals the devastating potential of love and the brutality of human nature.
Higgins takes the title role in Frank McGuinness’ new version of Racine’s 1677 piece of classical tragedy, directed by Tom Cairns. The cast also features Sean Campion, Michael Feast and Linda Bassett, as well as Marcella Plunkett, Lucy-Anne Holmes and Janet Whiteside.
The production must finish its limited season on 3 June 2006 as planned. It’s followed, from 13 June to 5 August 2006 (previews from 8 June), by the Derek Jacobi-led revival of A Voyage Round My Father, John Mortimer’s 1970 autobiographical play about his relationship with his blind barrister father (See News, 6 Dec 2005). Theatregoers with tickets to the cancelled performances of Phaedra are advised to contact their ticket agent or the Donmar Warehouse box office 0870 060 6624 to arrange refunds or exchanges.
- by Terri Paddock