Joseph Fiennes (pictured), brother of Ralph, will return to the stage next month to star in the UK premiere of 2,000 Feet Away, which runs from 16 June to 12 July 2008 (previews from 11 June) at the 81-seat Bush Theatre in west London (See News, 5 Feb 2008).

In Eldon, Iowa, a tiny community in the American heartland, the deputy sheriff (Fiennes) must enforce a new law banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of anywhere children may gather. When the deputy has to evict his neighbour’s son AG, the new law hits home.

Fiennes is joined in the cast by Ian Hart as paedophile AG and Phyllis Logan as AG’s mother. The production, which marks the UK debut for Australian-British playwright Anthony Weigh, is directed by Bush artistic director Josie Rourke and designed by Lucy Osborne.

Well known internationally for his screen successes in the likes of Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Enemy at the Gate and The Merchant of Venice, Joseph Fiennes was last on stage in the 2005 West End revival of John Osborne’s Epitaph for George Dillon. His other theatre credits have included Love’s Labour’s Lost, Real Classy Affair, Edward II, The Woman in Black, A View from the Bridge, As You Like It, The Herbal Bed and A Month in the Country.

Ian Hart’s screen credits include Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The End of the Affair, Finding Neverland and the US drama series Dirt. He was last on stage in the 2001 West End revival of Pinter’s The Homecoming. Phyllis Logan is best known for playing Monica in Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies.


In other play casting news:

  • Lesley Manville (another Mike Leigh film favourite, whose most recent stage credits include All About My Mother, The Alchemist and Pillars of the Community) will play Suffragette Lady Celia Cain in the world premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Her Naked Skin, which opens in rep at the National on 31 July 2008 (previews from 24 July), the final production in the £10 Travelex Season in the NT Olivier (See News, 7 Apr 2008). In 1913 London, upper-class Lady Celia woman begins an erotic relationship with a young seamstress, while serving time in Holloway prison as part of the emancipation fight. Howard Davies directs.

  • At the Royal Court (See News, 19 Feb 2008), Julia Davis and Anna Madeley will star in Contractions, the new workplace-set black comedy by My Child author Mike Bartlett which will be performed in the theatre’s own offices from 4 to 14 June (previews from 29 May). And in the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 13 June to 5 July (previews from 6 June), Frances Grey, Stuart McQuarrie, Jan Pearson and Nicola Walker will appear in the premiere of the latest play, created in rehearsal, by author/director Anthony Neilson, newly titled The Relocated.

  • And finally, in the West End for four weeks only, from 21 July until 18 August 2008, director Emma Rice will take over from Tamzin Griffin as tea lady Myrtle in her own Kneehigh Theatre adaptation of David Lean’s classic 1945 film Brief Encounter, “live on stage” at The Cinema, Haymarket, the theatre created especially for it, by three months, where it’s now extended again until 19 October (See News, 2 May 2008). Tristan Sturrock and Naomi Frederick continue to star as reluctant would-be adulterers Alec and Laura.

    - by Terri Paddock