A new production of The Triumph of Love, Pierre Marivaux's erotic comedy that was first produced in 1732, will be staged by London's Almeida Theatre in July. Most recently seen in New York in an unsuccessful Broadway musical incarnation by Jeffrey Stock and James Magruder that starred Betty Buckley and ran for just two and a half months after opening in October 1997, the Almeida have returned to the original play, for which Martin Crimp has provided a new version.
Crimp, a veteran playwright in his own right, has previously adapted Moliere's The Misanthrope in a version that was originally produced at London's Young Vic Theatre and again earlier this year at Off-Broadway's CSC in a new production that was notable for starring Uma Thurman and Roger Rees, and also Ionesco's The Chairs that was originally produced at London's Royal Court in a production that subsequently transferred last year to Broadway's Golden Theatre, with Geraldine McEwan and Richard Briers. Most recently, he provided a new version of Bernard-Marie Koltes's Roberto Zucco for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which ended a run at the Barbican's Pit in May.
The Almeida's production of The Triumph of Love will open officially at the Almeida on September 2, following previews from August 31, and run there to September 25. Prior to that run, however, it will also be previewed at the Almeida for eleven performances from July 29 to August 7, before touring to the Theatre Royals in Norwich (August 10-14) and Bath (August 17-21) and also be presented from August 24-28 as part of the Almeida's annual three week summer residency at Malvern Festival Theatre.
The production is being directed by James Macdonald, who was responsible for the RSC staging of Roberto Zucco but has worked mainly for the Royal Court, where he is an Associate Director and his past productions have included David Storey's The Changing Room, the late Sarah Kane's Blasted and Cleansed, and Sam Shepard's Simpatico.
The cast includes Helen McCrory, a young actress who most recently created a stir on the London stage when she appeared in the British premiere last year of Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive at the Donmar Warehouse, and before that had been seen at the Royal National Theatre.
Following The Triumph of Love, the Almeida will stage a new production of Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, with the theatre's joint Artistic Director Ian McDiarmid, featuring in the title role. McDiarmid, who is currently to be seen starring as Senator Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, has appeared in numerous productions at the Almeida, including Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma, Gogol's The Government Inspector, Moliere's The School for Wives and Tartuffe, and Chekhov's Ivanov. The director is Michael Grandage, who most recently staged a new production of CP Taylor's Good at the Donmar Warehouse, and last year directed Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma for the Almeida. The Jew of Malta opens at the Almeida on October 5, following previews from September 28, and runs to November 6. Prior to London, the Almeida will stage it in Malvern as part of their residency there (from August 13-18), prior to touring it to Bath's Theatre Royal (August 24-28), Oxford Playhouse (September 14-18) and Poole Arts Centre (September 21-25).
In other Almeida news, the theatre that took over the West End's Albery Theatre to present a residency that began last September with the double-bill of Racine's Phedre and Britannicus (both starring Diana Rigg and Toby Stephens, and subsequently seen at BAM) and comes to a conclusion on July 10 with the last night of their current production of David Hare's Plenty, starring Cate Blanchett, will begin a new season at the West End's Gielgud Theatre in the fall.
- Mark Shenton, What's On Stage