Several upcoming plays – at Riverside Studios, the Bush, the Royal Court, the Old Vic and Hampstead Theatres - have recently announced further casting details.

At Riverside Studios (See News, 25 Apr 2007), Matthew Kelly will be joined in the world premiere of Forgotten Voices by Belinda Lang (last in the West End with Judi Dench in Hay Fever, TV’s 2 Point 4 Children. Max Arthur’s best-selling book Forgotten Voices of the Great War, adapted and directed for the stage by Malcolm McKay, is based on oral testimonies of officers, rank-and-file troops, Australians, Americans, war widows, women in the munitions factories and German soldiers. Also in the cast are Steven Crossley, Rupert Frazer and Tim Woodward. The premiere production has a limited season, from 1 June to 7 July 2007 (previews from 30 May), at Riverside Studios ahead of a transfer to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it runs at the Assembly Rooms from 2 to 26 August.


At the Royal Court (See News, 6 Feb 2007), Rafe Spall (Hot Fuzz on film, just seen on stage at the Donmar in John Gabriel Borkman) and Christine Bottomley (Ladybird, Osama the Hero, A Single Act, TV’s Sea of Souls) star in Alaska, which runs from 29 May to 23 June 2007 (previews from 24 May) in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. DC Moore’s drama about a charismatic but racially intolerant young man is the sixth play by a first-time writer to open at the Royal Court in 2007, each by playwrights who have come through the theatre’s Young Writers Programme. Directed by Maria Aberg, the Alaska also features Sebastian Armesto, Harry Hepple, Thomas Morrison and Fiona Wade.


At the Bush (See News, 7 Mar 2007), Meredith MacNeill (Confetti on film, TV’s Man Stroke Woman), Rhashan Stone (Southwark Fair, Simply Heavenly) and Irish stage actor Stephen Darcy (pictured together) are the cast for the English premiere of Trance, written and directed by Japanese Shoji Kokami. When a chance meeting reunites three old school friends, they’re eager to get reacquainted. But as the stories they tell become more surreal – from unrequited passions to split personalities, male eunuchs and escaped emperors – they start to question their sanity. Trance - which is translated by Amy Kassai, with dramaturgy by Tony Bicat and associate direction by Sarah Chew - runs from 8 to 30 June 2007 (previews from 6 June).


At Hampstead Theatre (See News, 23 Nov 2006), Dennis Kelly’s new play Taking Care of Baby will be performed by Abigail Davies, Zoe Aldrich, Michael Bertenshaw, Ellie Haddington, Christopher Ravenscroft and Nick Sidi. The play uses the popular techniques of drama documentary and verbatim theatre to tackle the controversial, fictional, case of Donna McAuliffe (Davies), a woman imprisoned for killing her children. Directed by Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark, the play runs in London from 4 to 23 June 2007 (previews from 31 May), following initial dates this month a Birmingham Rep, which is co-producing.


Finally, at the Old Vic (See News, 4 Apr 2007), Andrew Woodall (nominated for Best Supporting Actor in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards for The Voysey Inheritance at the National) and Rowena Cooper will join, as previously announced Rosamund Pike and Kenneth Cranham in Peter Gill’s revival of Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian thriller Gaslight, running at the Old Vic from 14 June to 18 August 2007 (previews from 7 June).

While Jack Manningham (Woodall) is out on the town each evening, his wife Bella (Pike), stays at home alone, believing she’s losing her mind: she can’t explain the disappearance of familiar objects, the mysterious footsteps overhead or the ghostly flickering of living room gaslights. However, questions about Jack’s behaviour and true identity are aroused following the unexpected arrival of Detective Rough (Cranham). George Cukor’s 1944 Oscar-winning film of Gaslight starred Ingrid Bergman as Bella and Joseph Cotton as the detective, with Charles Boyer as Jack. Cooper plays one of the Manningham’s complicit houseservants.

- by Terri Paddock