Margot Mason, a pioneer of 1970s feminism and author of The Cerebral Vagina and other best-sellers, now has writer's block. When committed fan Molly arrives unannounced, she seems to offer a solution – but then she produces a gun and threatens to kill Molly for warping her mother's mind with her dogma.
Murray-Smith was inspired to write The Female of the Species by the real-life incident in 2000 when fellow Australian German Greer, whose ground-breaking 1970 tract The Female Eunuch brought international fame, was held captive in her Essex country house. The Female of the Species had its world premiere in 2006 in Melbourne, and was due to open on Broadway later this year with Annette Bening, who pulled out of the project for “personal reasons” last September.
Roger Michell, who directed the UK premiere of Murray-Smith’s Honour at the National in 2003, is signed up to direct the new piece in London. What’s more, we hear he may be planning a reunion with actress Eileen Atkins to play the Greer-like Mason. Atkins won a Best Actress Olivier for Honour and is currently riding high having scooped a Best Actress BAFTA for her TV turn, opposite Judi Dench, in the BBC’s Cranford. She’s just finished a West End run in Jonathan Kent’s revival of Edward Bond’s The Sea at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.