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Cumming Brings Scots Bacchae to Hammersmith

By • West End
Following its premiere at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (See News, 28 Mar 2007), the National Theatre of Scotland’s (NTS) new version of The Bacchae, starring Alan Cumming as god of dance and wine Dionysus, will transfer to west London’s Lyric Hammersmith for a limited season from 5 to 22 September 2007.

In Euripides ancient Greek classic, the women have tasted pleasure and have left their homes to revel with Dionysus. Disguising himself as a woman, Pentheus infiltrates the revellers and tries to repress their desires at any cost.

NTS’s new version of The Bacchae is written by David Greig and directed by John Tiffany, who had an award-winning NTS hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe with Black Watch, currently touring in Scotland but now no longer transferring to London this spring (See News, 17 Apr 2007).

After a long absence (See News, 14 Jul 2006), Alan Cumming returned to the London stage last autumn in Daniel Kramer’s West End revival of Martin Sherman’s 1978 play Bent, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. The Scottish actor's stage credits include extensive early work at the Tron Theatre and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, and, in London, Conquest of the South Pole, La Bete, Hamlet and Accidental Death of an Anarchist, for which he won an Olivier for Comedy Performance of the Year. He’s best remembered by theatregoers for Sam Mendes’ Donmar Warehouse revival of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret, which transferred to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for his performance as the Kit Kat Klub’s emcee.

Since his 1998 success with Cabaret, Cumming had been based mainly in the US where his other stage credits have included Design for Living, Elle and The Threepenny Opera. His film credits include Sweet Land, Spy Kids, X2, Nicholas Nickleby, Titus, Eyes Wide Shut, Emma, Circle of Friends, Annie and the soon to be released Ant Bully.

During the Festival, The Bacchae will run at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre from 11 to 18 August and will then visit the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, from 28 August to 1 September, before concluding with the Lyric Hammersmith season.

- by Terri Paddock


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