Lia Williams has withdrawn from the National Theatre’s upcoming production of Marivaux’s The False Servant, citing health problems brought on by overwork. She’ll be replaced by Nancy Carroll (The Talking Cure) in the new version by Martin Crimp, directed by former Almeida joint artistic director Jonathan Kent, which opens at the NT Cottesloe on 1 June 2004 (previews from 26 May).

The production sees the long overdue UK professional stage debut of the French-based British screen actress Charlotte Rampling (See News, 19 Feb 2004), heading a cast which also includes David Collings, Adrian Scarborough and David Shaw Parker.

The National Theatre has also confirmed full casting details for the remaining productions in its spring/summer repertory in the NT Lyttelton and Olivier auditoriums (See News, 5 Feb 2004).

In the Lyttelton

In The History Boys, Alan Bennett’s new play about staffroom rivalry and the best way to teach sixth form history lessons, Frances de la Tour will be joined by Samuel Anderson, Tom Attwood, Samuel Barnett, Stephen Campbell Moore (Bright Young Things), Dominic Cooper (His Dark Materials), James Corden, Rudi Dharmalingam, Sacha Dhawan, Richard Griffiths (Withnail and I, Harry Potter), Colin Haigh, Andrew Knott, Clive Merrison, Jamie Parker, Joseph Raishbrook, Russell Tovey and Joan Walker. The production is directed by NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner and designed by Bob Crowley.

The History Boys will be joined in repertoire, from 22 June 2004 (previews from 12 June), by Katie Mitchell’s production of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, about a wartime ship commander who sacrifices his daughter to the gods in return for a favourable sailing wind. The Greek classic is translated by Don Taylor and designed by Hildegarde Bechtler.

Whatsonstage.com Award winner Ben Daniels, seen last year at the NT in Mitchell’s production of Three Sisters, stars as Agamemnon with Hattie Morahan in the title role, Kate Duchene (as Clytemnestra), Dominic Rowan (Menelaus) and Justin Salinger (Achilles). Also in the cast are: Annamaria Adams, Martin Hodgson, Kristin Hutchinson, Sean Jackson, Helena Lymbery, Sarah Malin, Penelope McGhie, Peter Needham, Charlotte Roach and Susie Trayling.

In the Olivier

Following the current production of Cyrano de Bergerac with Stephen Rea, the Travelex £10 season continues in repertory, from 27 May to 31 July 2004 (previews from 17 May), with Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by Simon McBurney, co-founder and artistic director of Complicite, who are co-producing.

Joining Naomi Frederick (as Isabella), Paul Rhys (Angelo) and The Play What I Wrote Olivier Award winner Toby Jones (Lucio) are David Troughton (just seen in The Skin of Our Teeth at the Young Vic) as the Duke of Vienna and Ben Meyjes (Journey’s End in the West End) as Claduio. Also in the cast are: Jamie R Bradley, Steven Crossley, Cait Davis, Johannes Flaschberger, Mike Grady, Tamzin Griffin, Rhydian Jones, Richard Katz, Meredith MacNeill, Clive Mendus, Kostas Philippoglou, Vinette Robinson and Angus Wright.

The Shakespeare is followed by Edward Hall’s revival of the 1962 Tony Award-winning Roman-set musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), which runs from 9 July to 2 November (previews from 28 June).

Desmond Barrit (as Pseudolus), three-time Oliver Award winner Philip Quast (Miles Gloriosus) and The Play What I Wrote’s Hamish McColl (Hysterium) are joined by Isla Blair (TV’s The House of Cards), comedian David Schneider, Caroline Sheen (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Truly Scrumptious), Jane Fowler and Tiffany Graves (Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly from the West End’s Chicago).

Also in the Funny Thing cast of are: Darren Carnall, Peter Caulfield, Owain Rhys Davies, Simone de la Rue, Sam Kelly, Vince Leigh, Alan Leith, David Lucas, Michelle Lukes, Graham MacDuff, Hayley Newton, Sarah O’Gleby, Michael Rouse, Spencer Soloman, Lorraine Stewart, Harry Towb and Matthew Wolfenden (See News, 31 Mar 2004).

- by Terri Paddock


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